Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com http://bronxpinstripes.com Bronx Pinstripes - A New York Yankees Community for the Fans, by the Fans Sat, 17 Feb 2018 21:18:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Will Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar play 2B and 3B on Opening Day? | BP Mailbag http://bronxpinstripes.com/opinion/will-torres-and-andujar-play-2b-and-3b-on-opening-day-bp-mailbag/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/opinion/will-torres-and-andujar-play-2b-and-3b-on-opening-day-bp-mailbag/#respond Sat, 17 Feb 2018 21:14:59 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57951   At long last, spring training has arrived. My last mailbag was published nearly two months ago (Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Boone were in the news), so there is some catching up to do here. Spring workouts have already begun and the Yankees’ first official exhibition game is scheduled for Friday in Tampa, so let’s […]

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At long last, spring training has arrived. My last mailbag was published nearly two months ago (Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Boone were in the news), so there is some catching up to do here. Spring workouts have already begun and the Yankees’ first official exhibition game is scheduled for Friday in Tampa, so let’s get to some questions from Twitter.

Answer: It makes a ton of sense. If the Yankees elect to keep Gleyber Torres at the Triple-A level for the first few weeks of the season, two benefits come with it. First, in that time frame, Torres would play every day and receive more minor league experience. Even if he excels in the field and at the plate in spring training, he still missed half of 2017 due to left elbow surgery, so there’s no harm in letting him find a groove or shake off some rust with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre until mid-April or early May. Second, from a business standpoint (perhaps a logical one, too), keeping Torres in the minors for a few weeks would give the Yankees an additional year of control over him. This would be very similar to the Cubs’ decision with Kris Bryant a few years ago. If keeping Torres in the minors for a few weeks means he can be a Yankee for seven years instead of six, why wouldn’t the club do that? I understand that some fans and pundits believe that Torres should be on the Opening Day roster, but since the Yankees’ lineup has so much firepower, I think they could get away with minimal production at the position until Torres’ time comes. When Didi Gregorius missed nearly all of April last season, the Yankees survived with Ronald Torreyes as a platoon man. I think they can get away with it again. The smartest decision is to have Torres start the regular season in Triple-A, regardless of how he performs this spring. 

Answer: Hmm… Well, I don’t think it’ll be Torreyes again. I’m awful at predicting this stuff, but I’ll try to give an educated guess. Since the Yankees open the regular season at Rogers Centre against the Blue Jays, I would assume Marcus Stroman is on the bump. Look, if I choose Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, or Giancarlo Stanton, my odds would be pretty decent. But that’s too easy, and I’m not doing that. On March 29, Brett Gardner will hit the Yankees’ first home run. Of all the hitters Stroman has faced since 2014, he’s faced Gardner the most (37 plate appearances). I’ll work that stat in as support for my answer. Although he’s hitting .265 against Stroman, he does have two home runs. Maybe Gardner will make it three. The odds on Judge are probably the best, though. He has three homers in just 13 plate appearances against Stroman. But I’m sticking with Gardner, because why not?

Answer: This could be debated for hours. Should Aaron Boone stack Judge, Sanchez, and Stanton as 2-3-4, or spread them out? Personally, I think it would be best to have those three guys next to each other. No pitcher (heck, no pitching staff) wants to face that trio consecutively. A lot of damage could be done, and pitch counts could run high early on. Here’s how I would arrange the lineup against Stroman on Opening Day:

  1. Brett Gardner (LF)
  2. Aaron Judge (RF)
  3. Gary Sanchez (C)
  4. Giancarlo Stanton (DH)
  5. Greg Bird (1B)
  6. Didi Gregorius (SS)
  7. Aaron Hicks (CF)
  8. Miguel Andujar (3B)
  9. Ronald Torreyes/Tyler Wade (2B)

For the reasons explained earlier, I don’t believe Torres will be with the club until late April or early May. But there still could be two rookies in the lineup. If Miguel Andujar plays well in Tampa, I’d give him the third base gig. His minor league numbers were impressive last year. Maybe he’ll be the guy. Maybe the Yankees won’t even need Manny Machado (I know, I know, just saying). As far as second base, it’s between Torreyes and Wade. Torreyes is a reliable platoon man and can fill the void. Wade is a rookie with plenty to prove, but some analysts and scouts believe he’s capable of winning the job. Could you go lefty-righty-lefty early on and place Bird in the three-spot? Sure. But the image of Judge-Sanchez-Stanton hitting in the first inning is trouble for any team. 

I also think Luis Severino should get the ball on Opening Day. He was the Yankees’ bona fide ace last season, and the team should continue to place him in these big-game situations (it’s not the playoffs, but you know what I mean). Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia have had their fair share of Opening Day starts. Severino deserves one now. He wants to be the ace, he can be the ace, and the Yankees need him to be the ace. That all starts by letting him oppose Stroman. 

Answer: I suppose it wouldn’t hurt the Yankees to search for one additional starter at a reasonably low price, but I don’t think they need to make any more moves. I would stand pat, and enter the spring and regular season with this roster. Let Miguel Andujar play — maybe even Tyler Wade — and wait on Torres for a little bit. The Yankees are bringing back the same pitching staff from last year, and if they can stay healthy, they’ll be fine. It’ll be interesting to see how Jordan Montgomery picks up where he left off. It may feel like the Yankees have some holes, but the roster is pretty strong. Who knows, maybe they’ll look to add a pitcher at the trade deadline, but for now, leave it be. If they want to remain under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, they can’t spend too much money. Dance with the one that brought you. 

Answer: It depends on how the Yankees want to handle Jordan Montgomery’s innings. Gut reaction, I would make Montgomery the long man instead of Sabathia. Yankees are paying CC to be a starter for one more year. If he struggles early on in the season, maybe that changes. But if they do add another starter, I’d probably move Montgomery to the bullpen in some capacity. Good question.

Answer: I think Clint Frazier is trapped right now. He’s never short on confidence, but with Judge, Stanton, Gardner, Hicks (and don’t forget Jacoby Ellsbury) as big league fixtures, there’s just no place to put Frazier. Even if a few of those names have dissapointing springs and Frazier flourishes, I still don’t see a place for him in the Bronx just yet. Unless there’s some major injury to Gardner or Hicks, I see Frazier in Triple-A. The Yankees need to hold on to him. Having him as a bench player doesn’t make much sense. He could use the playing time in Triple-A. He’s young. He’ll get his opportunity eventually. Just can’t picture it now.

Answer: I’m going to assume you’re asking which rookie has the best chance to be a starter on Opening Day. In that case, I’d say Andujar. Maybe his defense still needs some improvement, but he’s got a rocket for an arm, and it looks like he can hit above his weight. Between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A last season, he slashed .315/.352/.498 with 16 homers, 36 doubles, and 82 RBI. Those numbers stand out to me. Right now, it doesn’t seem like the Yankees are pursuing a corner infielder, so figure Andujar’s leash is long. Of course, I’ll throw Torres into the mix as well. I just don’t think he’ll be in pinstripes right away. Both guys have a legitimate chance to be regular starters for the Yankees. No doubt in my mind.

Answer: Maybe Robin Ventura? Cody Ransom? Just kidding. Andujar, Andujar, or Andujar. 

Answer: I don’t think the Yankees have room for Austin (unless Bird suffers another injury). When Bird needs a day off, perhaps Austin Romine plays first, or maybe Gary Sanchez. Yankees will need to get a little creative here. I’m sure they’re really hoping this question doesn’t come up a lot this season. They need Bird in the lineup every day.

 

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at thanslin@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

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Aaron Boone has no plans to play Aaron Judge in CF http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-boone-no-plans-play-aaron-judge-cf/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-boone-no-plans-play-aaron-judge-cf/#respond Sat, 17 Feb 2018 18:33:51 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57950 It’s no secret Aaron Judge is an important asset to the Yankees outfield; not only can Judge play right field, but he’s versatile enough to play left and center field. Even though Judge has the versatility to play center, don’t expect manager Aaron Boone to give him a start there this season. Aaron Boone on […]

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It’s no secret Aaron Judge is an important asset to the Yankees outfield; not only can Judge play right field, but he’s versatile enough to play left and center field.

Even though Judge has the versatility to play center, don’t expect manager Aaron Boone to give him a start there this season.

Judge previously mentioned he played center field before professionally playing baseball, which fueled the speculation. However, Judge said since playing professional baseball he’s predominantly been a right fielder.

Going into the season the Yankees plan on rotating Giancarlo Stanton, Judge, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks in the three outfield spots, with the odd man being the designated hitter. The Yankees also have Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier as options, but it’s more likely Ellsbury will see most of his time on the bench, and Frazier will start the season in Triple-A barring an injury.

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Giancarlo Stanton arrives to Yankees camp early http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/giancarlo-stanton-arrives-early/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/giancarlo-stanton-arrives-early/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:41:12 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57945 Giancarlo Stanton is ready to begin his first season with the New York Yankees. The slugger arrived to Yankees camp on Friday morning, two days prior to when position players are scheduled to report. The reigning National League Most Valuable player spent some time checking out the Steinbrenner Field clubhouse while speaking to some of […]

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Giancarlo Stanton is ready to begin his first season with the New York Yankees.

The slugger arrived to Yankees camp on Friday morning, two days prior to when position players are scheduled to report. The reigning National League Most Valuable player spent some time checking out the Steinbrenner Field clubhouse while speaking to some of his new teammates.

Of course, it didn’t take long for Stanton to field some questions from the media.

The 28-year-old answered a group of questions, ranging from his adjustment to his new team to the organization’s winning culture. Here are some of the main topics that Stanton covered:

  • Stanton stated that he flew from the west coast to Tampa on Thursday in anticipation of reporting to Spring Training early. The veteran outfielder said he wanted to get a jump start on adjusting to his new location and teammates.
  • When asked about being in the same lineup with Aaron Judge, Stanton said he is excited to learn from his new teammate. He noted that teams will likely pitch the sluggers similarly, and they will be able to use that to feed off each other and adjust together.
  • Stanton admitted that there is a curiosity of how many homers him and Judge can hit together. However, he emphasized that the main goal is to win, and that they will look to contribute to best help the team succeed.
  • Putting on a Yankees uniform didn’t feel odd to Stanton, but he said he is excited to join his new team. He spoke about the organization’s expectation of winning, and stated that he’s worked his entire life to experience this opportunity.

As Spring Training kicks off, expect to hear a lot more about Giancarlo Stanton over the next few weeks. With excitement roaring around Yankees camp, Stanton’s arrival to the Bronx will definitely be one of the major headlines this season.

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Yankees prospect Thairo Estrada recovering from gunshot wound http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/thairo-estrada-recovering-from-gunshot-wound/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/thairo-estrada-recovering-from-gunshot-wound/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:39:53 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57939 The Yankees announced Friday that infield prospect Thairo Estrada suffered a gunshot wound in his native Venezuela last month and is still recovering. The incident apparently took place during a robbery attempt and the bullet is still lodged in the 21-year-old’s hip. Thairo Estrada suffered gunshot wound in hip in Venezuela at the end of […]

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The Yankees announced Friday that infield prospect Thairo Estrada suffered a gunshot wound in his native Venezuela last month and is still recovering.

The incident apparently took place during a robbery attempt and the bullet is still lodged in the 21-year-old’s hip.

He had surgery following the attack and was in the hospital for three days. There are no further surgeries scheduled and Estrada said, “I don’t think it will affect me at all.”

Aaron Boone mirrored the prospect’s positivity, saying: “We’re optimistic. I don’t think this is going to be a long-term situation, but we’ll just have to see how he progresses.” He may not be ready for opening day, but the Yankees fully expect him to play the majority of the season.

Estrada’s wife, who was with him at the time, was unharmed. The infielder was entering a restaurant when two suspects demanded his wallet and phone. He said he did not know who the assailants were, nor did he know if they knew who he was.

The team’s 16th-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, has spent the last five seasons in the organization. He hit .301/.353/.392 with six home runs and 48 RBI through 122 games with Double-A Trenton last season. In the Arizona Fall League, he slashed .342/.381/.320 with one homer and 10 RBI in 20 games.

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Yankees release 2018 promotional schedule http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/yankees-release-2018-promotional-schedule/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/yankees-release-2018-promotional-schedule/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:22:35 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57930 The Yankees have released their promotional schedule for the upcoming season. Here are a few notable games, the opponent, and where you need to be in line to snag the giveaway. Bobbleheads: April 23 vs. Twins – David Wells. First 18,000 guests. May 4 vs. Indians – Star Wars Night Aaron Judge Jedi. First 40,000 […]

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The Yankees have released their promotional schedule for the upcoming season. Here are a few notable games, the opponent, and where you need to be in line to snag the giveaway.

Bobbleheads:

April 23 vs. Twins – David Wells. First 18,000 guests.
May 4 vs. Indians – Star Wars Night Aaron Judge Jedi. First 40,000 guests.
June 14 vs. Rays – Ron Guidry. First 18,000 guests.
July 27 vs. Royals – CC Sabathia. First 18,000 guests.
August 31 vs. Tigers – Brett Gardner. First 18,000 guests.

Opening Day vs. Rays – Magnetic Schedule. All guests.

April 8 vs. Orioles – Yankees Calendar. First 40,000 guests.

May 12 vs. A’s – Didi Gregorius Bat. First 10,000 guests 14 and younger.

June 17 vs. Rays – Old-Timers’ Day.

July 29 vs. Royals – Yankees Collectible Truck, 14th in the series. First 18,000 guests 14 and younger.

August 10 vs. Rangers – Collectible Cup. First 25,000 guests.

August 15 vs. Rays – Cap Day. First 18,000 guests.

If you can only make it to one game this year, August 18 against the Blue Jays is the one you won’t want to miss. Before the 1:05 PM game, the Yankees will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Championship team. Stay tuned for details and who to expect.

For a complete list of the giveaways and special ticket offers, be sure to visit the Yankees website.

 

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Aaron Judge eager to have catch with newest Yankee Russell Wilson http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-judge-eager-to-have-catch-with-russell-wilson/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-judge-eager-to-have-catch-with-russell-wilson/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 21:20:20 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57920   Aaron Judge is counting down the days to when he can finally play catch with new spring teammate Russell Wilson. A catch with a football, that is. The Seattle Seahawks’ Pro Bowl quarterback, who was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft, was traded to the Yankees last week, and […]

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Aaron Judge is counting down the days to when he can finally play catch with new spring teammate Russell Wilson.

A catch with a football, that is.

The Seattle Seahawks’ Pro Bowl quarterback, who was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft, was traded to the Yankees last week, and will report to George M. Steinbrenner Field for spring training activities in March.

“It’s going to be pretty cool. I’m looking forward to it,” Judge told the New York Daily News on Thursday. “Russell Wilson’s a special guy [with] what he’s done in the NFL — not only on the field but off the field — so it’s going to be cool to have him here, and maybe get a chance to talk to him and meet him.”

Judge, who set program records for catches (54), receiving yards (969), and touchdowns (17) as a senior wide receiver at Linden High School in California, happened to be recruited by Notre Dame, UCLA, and Stanford. But the reigning American League Rookie of the Year opted a career in baseball and played at Fresno State from 2011 to 2013.

Although the 25-year-old outfielder is still recovering from offseason surgery on his left shoulder, he hopes to take batting practice and catch passes from Wilson in the near future.

“We’ll see. I’ll have to bring my football in. I’d love to,” Judge said.

 

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at thanslin@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

 

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Sonny Gray confident in ability of Yankees’ ‘good enough’ rotation http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/gray-confident-in-ability-of-yankees-rotation/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/gray-confident-in-ability-of-yankees-rotation/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:30:36 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57905   Sonny Gray has only spent three months of his Major League career as a fixture in the Yankees’ rotation, but the 28-year-old right-hander fully expects his staff to pull its own weight while team expectations mount in 2018. “All these guys have had a lot of success in their careers, so we just have to […]

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Sonny Gray has only spent three months of his Major League career as a fixture in the Yankees’ rotation, but the 28-year-old right-hander fully expects his staff to pull its own weight while team expectations mount in 2018.

“All these guys have had a lot of success in their careers, so we just have to worry about doing our part,’’ Gray said of starters Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery to the New York Post on Thursday. “We have a good enough rotation to keep us in every game.

“I like the guys we have. We’ve been through it together now.’’

Although the Yankees had rumored interest in starters Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish earlier this winter, the organization’s most recent deal for a new rotation piece came back in July, when Oakland traded Gray to New York for a package of prospects — pitcher James Kaprielian, infielder Jorge Mateo, and outfielder Dustin Fowler

In 11 regular season outings with the Yankees, Gray wasn’t spectacular. Granted, he received little run support, but he finished 4-7 with a 3.73 ERA. His inconsistencies carried into the postseason, as he struggled against the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS but prevailed in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros. 

New York isn’t always an easy environment to settle into, but Gray believes he’s made the necessary adjustments to help push the club toward a championship.

“I feel way more comfortable now,” Gray told the Post. “Just coming into spring and knowing people, I don’t feel like I’m meeting everyone for the first time.

“When I came over last year, it was already a really good team. That’s still true now. We have enough older guys that understand it’s a long season and a process. There’s gonna be ups and downs like last season, but we’re ready to go.”

 

CC’s GLAD FREE AGENCY IS BEHIND HIM

A historically dormant offseason has ignited a feud between the league and the players’ union, and veteran CC Sabathia is relieved that he struck while the iron was still hot. 

“I’d be panicking,” Sabathia told the New York Daily News. “I don’t know [free agent Jake Arrieta] at all, but just to see guys in spring training getting ready and things like that and you have a family and you’re trying to figure stuff out factors into how you pitch and play.”

Earlier this winter, the 37-year-old southpaw returned to the Yankees on a one-year, $10 million deal. He reportedly garnered interest from the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels, but ultimately elected to remain in the Bronx after finishing 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA last season.

“Everything was kind of moving slow for me, too,” said Sabathia. “I just thought that was kind of the pace of the offseason, but I’ve never seen what we’ve been going through this year. It’s crazy. I was just happy I was able to get [my deal] done.

“When I was a free agent you got paid off of what you did. Now guys are going to get paid for what they can do throughout that contract. It’s just a different landscape in baseball, the way teams are changing. GMs are getting younger and smarter and they want to get more value out of their players.”

 

CHAPMAN NOT WORRIED ABOUT 2017 BLUNDERS

Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman didn’t live up to his five-year, $86 million contract in 2017. His fastball was erratic and his lack of command forced a brief demotion. His health was also a concern, as he spent time between May and June on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. 

Chapman realizes that 2017 was tough. But the soon-to-be 30-year-old lefty has put those woes behind him.

“You definitely want to keep improving as a player,” Chapman told NJ.com on Thursday. “Definitely don’t want to go through the same rough patch that I went through last year. You want to prevent that from happening. That’s why I keep saying that hard work is the key. Focus on what you want to accomplish and be more consistent.

“The expectation from us is to keep going further. The key is to work really hard, focus on what you want to accomplish this season, definitely go beyond last season and get to the World Series and hopefully win it all.”

 

CHAD GREEN A POTENTIAL NO. 6?

According to YES Network’s Jack Curry, Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone said that reliever Chad Green will be stretched out as a starter, but he also said it would “take a lot” of things to happen for the 26-year-old righty to leave his role out of the bullpen.

“Obviously we’re going to stretch him out because it’s a lot easier to go the other way [from starter back to reliever]. We know what we have going the other way,” Boone told the New York Daily News. “So it depends on the health of our roster and what other guys potentially emerge in that role, but it would obviously have to take a lot [of factors] given what we believe he is and the valuable role he filled last year.”

In 40 games last season, Green struck out 103 hitters in 69.1 innings and finished 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA.

 

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at thanslin@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

 

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CC Sabathia to throw bullpen on Friday despite rolling ankle http://bronxpinstripes.com/injuries/cc-sabathia-throw-bullpen-friday-despite-rolling-ankle/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/injuries/cc-sabathia-throw-bullpen-friday-despite-rolling-ankle/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:11:41 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57902 On Wednesday morning, CC Sabathia rolled his ankle while participating in the team’s first Pitchers’ Fielding Practice of the Spring. While arriving at camp on Thursday morning, Sabathia still had his ankle taped from yesterday’s small injury. But despite rolling his ankle, Sabathia declared that he will still throw a bullpen on Friday morning. CC Sabathia […]

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On Wednesday morning, CC Sabathia rolled his ankle while participating in the team’s first Pitchers’ Fielding Practice of the Spring. While arriving at camp on Thursday morning, Sabathia still had his ankle taped from yesterday’s small injury.

But despite rolling his ankle, Sabathia declared that he will still throw a bullpen on Friday morning.

As Sabathia left George M. Steinbrenner Field yesterday afternoon, he didn’t believe the injury was a cause for concern. Yankees GM Brian Cashman reiterated those sentiments.

In fact, Sabathia believed the ankle was only wrapped because Yankees trainer Steve Donahue likes to “put wraps on”. 

 

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Luis Severino doesn’t feel he’s an ace–yet http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/luis-severino-doesnt-feel-hes-ace-yet/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/luis-severino-doesnt-feel-hes-ace-yet/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:32:50 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57899 In 2017, Luis Severino opened everyone’s eyes when he threw 193.1 innings with a 2.98 ERA, ranking ninth in innings pitched and third in ERA in the American League. Despite that, Severino wasn’t impressed with his 2017 campaign. He fell short of the only goal he had set for himself which was to pitch 200 […]

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In 2017, Luis Severino opened everyone’s eyes when he threw 193.1 innings with a 2.98 ERA, ranking ninth in innings pitched and third in ERA in the American League. Despite that, Severino wasn’t impressed with his 2017 campaign. He fell short of the only goal he had set for himself which was to pitch 200 innings, something he hopes to accomplish in 2018.

Even though Severino was one of the best pitchers in the Yankees starting rotation, he doesn’t view himself as the ace of the Yankees staff.

“I think everybody wants that, but if you’re asking me, I’m not going to say I’m the ace,” Severino said to the media after workouts yesterday afternoon. “I have to keep improving. I have years to go before I feel I can say that. Maybe in two more years I can say I am the ace.”

Severino’s ace like performance during the season earned him the honor of starting the American League Wild Card game. Unfortunately, Severino had what was probably the worst start of his career, giving up three runs in one-third of an inning. While he improved slightly to a 1-1 record and a 4.02 ERA against the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros, Severino felt his postseason performance wasn’t good enough.

“Hopefully I’ll be better next year in the playoffs,” he said. “I got beat up by the Twins, then I came back and had a good game against Cleveland in the Division Series. I can be even better. I can be better in the season, better in the playoffs. I know that I’ll be better.”

Unlike last season when Joe Girardi announced Masahairo Tanaka as the Opening Day starter, Yankees manager Aaron Boone would rather prefer to make it into a competition this year. It’s safe to say that Luis Severino has a good chance of being in the mix, but if he wants to win the coveted honor he’ll have to work on his secondary pitches.

“I know I’m still working on stuff,” he said. “I know that I need to work more. My secondary pitches need to be more consistent. I’m trying to be better than I was last year. I need to control myself a little bit better. I need to throw more changeups for strikes. I need to be more careful with my stuff.”

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Justus Sheffield believes he is big-league ready http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/sheffield-believes-he-is-big-league-ready/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/sheffield-believes-he-is-big-league-ready/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 23:07:46 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57892 Justus Sheffield may not be with the Big League club come Opening Day, but that isn’t keeping the Yankees’ top lefty prospect from believing he’s ready. “Honestly,” Sheffield told reporters at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday, “I hope to go out there and compete and show that I can pitch at the big-league level. […]

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Justus Sheffield may not be with the Big League club come Opening Day, but that isn’t keeping the Yankees’ top lefty prospect from believing he’s ready.

“Honestly,” Sheffield told reporters at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday, “I hope to go out there and compete and show that I can pitch at the big-league level. I believe that I can.”

The 21-year-old ranks on most lists as the third or fourth best prospect in the Yankees’ system. 2018 will be his second big-league camp, and he is already planning on how to improve upon his impressive Fall League performance.

“Overall, I think, it’s pitching deeper in games and quality of strikes,” he said when asked how he must improve. “That’s pretty much it. I felt like coming out of the Fall League, I did well. I pitched to my location. I got what I needed to get done. I’m looking to carry that momentum into spring, too.”

The southpaw went 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA in five starts in the AFL, striking out 22 and walking just three across 20.1 innings. He finished the regular season with Double-A Trenton, going 7-6 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 games. An oblique injury cut his season short, so look for him to return to the Thunder to gain more experience.

In his short time with the team, Sheffield has already become close with another lefty hurler. Just feet away from his locker this spring sits CC Sabathia’s. The two text often with the big man giving pitching advice and inspiration.

“All winter,” Sheffield said when asked how often they talked. “All last season. He’ll text me, asking how I’m doing. I’ll ask him, ask how he’s doing. After a game or something, I’ll tell him he looked great and stuff like that. He’s been a big help for me. Especially during the winter. I could hit him up at any time. I can hit him up with anything I need to ask and he would hit me up immediately. He’s been a big help for me ever since I met him.”

Sabathia has also helped Sheffield learn how to throw a backdoor slider, a pitch that is new to his arsenal.

“That’s something I want to implement in my game,” Sheffield said. “He’s had a lot of success with that. I’ve always been a guy to throw a back foot. I actually worked on that a lot in the Fall League and saw a lot of success with it. Working on that, talking with him through that, that’s been a big help.”

As for his goal of making the Majors, the youngster knows he has to let his play do the talking.

“All I have to do is go out there and do what I do and just be comfortable and play the game,” he said.

 

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Aaron Judge reflects on rehab after shoulder surgery, Giancarlo Stanton http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-judge-reflects-rehab-shoulder-surgery-giancarlo-stanton/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-judge-reflects-rehab-shoulder-surgery-giancarlo-stanton/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:58:14 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57868   When the Yankees’ slate of spring training games begin next week, the gates to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa will open earlier than in previous years for fans to watch batting practice in its entirety.  However, the crowds may not see Aaron Judge taking monstrous swings early on.  During a press conference Wednesday […]

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When the Yankees’ slate of spring training games begin next week, the gates to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa will open earlier than in previous years for fans to watch batting practice in its entirety. 

However, the crowds may not see Aaron Judge taking monstrous swings early on. 

During a press conference Wednesday in Tampa, the 25-year-old outfielder discussed his offseason shoulder surgery, reluctantly admitting that his left wing could cause him to miss a few spring games.

“Shoulder feels good. I feel like we’re right on schedule with the progression we kind of set out after the surgery,” Judge said. “But with that, even though it feels good, the games that matter are in April. So if I miss a couple games — which I probably will early in spring — I’d rather miss those games than miss games starting at the end of March, early April. So I think we’re on the right track. Everything is working out the way it’s supposed to be and I’m looking forward to getting everything rolling.

“I’m just starting BP right now. I’ve been doing a lot of cage work, tee and [soft] toss, working into BP and just starting BP actually today. So here in the next couple days, once position players get here, I’ll be full-BP, outside and everything and good to go.”

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone also told Newsday that he wants to ease Judge into spring activities.

“He’s good, I think it’s just a matter of wanting to take it slow,” Boone said. “I don’t need him getting three at-bats on February whatever. We’ll just be smart in how we go about it. There’s time to where he can get those regular at-bats to be in a place where we need him to be when we break camp at the end of next month.”

Whether or not Judge’s participation in last summer’s Home Run Derby caused the damage to his shoulder, the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP-runner-up told reporters that issues came after the All-Star break. However, he still felt comfortable enough to play while the team was competing for a playoff spot.

“It came down to can you play, and I could play,” Judge said. “You know, July, August, everyone’s going through something. No one’s 100-percent. You could ask everybody in that clubhouse, they were kind of banged up. So, if I was able to play, I was going to go out there and be ready for my team. 

“I felt it’d be best to do [surgery] in the offseason, just cause of where we were at in the season. We were fighting, we were there around first place in our division, fighting for that playoff spot. I wanted to be out there for the team… It’s something we can handle in the offseason and I felt like the offseason we’ve got a couple months to either rehab some stuff or do surgery was the best timing for me and the team.”

Judge, who only missed seven regular season games in 2017, doesn’t believe his injury history will change his style of play moving forward.

“I never want to play timid or scared of everything — especially when my pitcher or my teammates are out there going 100-percent,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m a full 100-percent, so that’s running into walls, running into the stands. I’m still going to do that. There’s nothing really you can do. It’s freak stuff like that, running into the wall. I don’t want to run into the wall, but if I’ve got to make a play for my team, I’m going to run through a wall for them. Nothing you can try to prevent or protect, to be honest.”

Injuries aside, Judge is eager to take swings in the cage alongside Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees’ newly acquired slugger. While the two were in New York for the BBWAA Awards dinner on Jan. 28, Judge said that the reigning NL MVP was excited to head down to Tampa and start working. The two behemoths combined for 111 home runs last season.

“We’re in here to win it. We already have a great team, but adding Stanton and couple other pieces, we’re going to be great,” said Judge, who hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBI a year ago. “Being around Stanton so far, he’s ready for New York. He’s ready to be here. He’s going to fit right into this team. We already have a good core group of young guys and he’s going to fit right into it, I can already tell. Just by his demeanor, he’s here to win. That’s all I really hear him talking about. He’s here to win. It’s going to be a fun thing we’ve got here.

“I’m just excited to pick his brain a little bit about mechanics, his approach. He’s seen a lot of guys in the league, but him coming to the AL East now, it’s going to be a little bit different. So, he’ll have a chance to pick my brain about certain pitchers, I’ll get a chance to pick his brain about certain pitchers. It’s going to be nice having another big guy in the clubhouse.”

Although the Yankees’ offense is projected to be lethal this year, Judge is once again ignoring the critics and their lofty expectations.

“I feel like there’s always room to improve,” Judge said. “I try not to listen to people when they try to put a label on somebody as that was their best season of that was their worst season. For me, I don’t know. And that’s what kind of motivates me. How good can you be? How great can someone be? And that’s what motivates me to come in here early and get my work in and try to improve.

“There’s little things with my swing I need to improve on. Base running-wise, quick first step. Outfield-wise, same thing, quick first step so I can make some more plays in the gap. So for me, it’s just always trying to improve. It was a fun last year. A lot of fun. A lot of ups and downs and things I need to improve on. Just trying to get better this year, trying to build off last year.”

 

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at thanslin@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

 

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Yankees will attend Tim Lincecum’s showcase http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/yankees-will-attend-lincecums-showcase/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/yankees-will-attend-lincecums-showcase/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 19:39:44 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57867 Former ace Tim Lincecum is attempting another comeback. He will hold a showcase in his hometown of Seattle, Washington for about 10-12 teams this Thursday. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Yankees are expected to be on hand as the two-time Cy Young Award winner tries to land with a club for the […]

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Former ace Tim Lincecum is attempting another comeback. He will hold a showcase in his hometown of Seattle, Washington for about 10-12 teams this Thursday. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Yankees are expected to be on hand as the two-time Cy Young Award winner tries to land with a club for the 2018 season.

The 33-year-old last pitched in the Majors in 2016. He made just nine starts for the Angels, posting a 2-6 record with a 9.16 ERA. “The Freak” underwent reconstructive surgery on his left hip in September of 2015, but his surgeon expects a healthy Lincecum to regain his full pitching ability and velocity despite the sub-par first comeback attempt.

The Yankees’ rotation is in good shape heading into the season, which makes signing the righty a long shot. With CC Sabathia returning on a one-year deal, Chance Adams waiting in the wings, and Adam Warren and Chad Green able to make a spot start if necessary, the rotation is pretty much set.

A bull pen role is an option the Yanks might be looking at, but it’s unknown if Lincecum would accept that role. Of his 278 regular season appearances, all but eight have been starts. Also, pitching in the AL East might not be the best place to ease back into Big League competition.

Even though he is unlikely to land in the Bronx, Brian Cashman wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t at least check in on the three-time World Series champ.

 

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Gary Sanchez focused on improving defensively http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/gary-sanchez-focused-improving-defensively/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/gary-sanchez-focused-improving-defensively/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 16:50:27 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57861 During the 2017 season, Gary Sanchez took a lot of criticism for his defensive play. The young backstop allowed 16 passed balls, which was the most by any Major League catcher. He also gave up 53 wild pitches, which was the second most in the league. This offseason, the 25-year-old set his focus on improving […]

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During the 2017 season, Gary Sanchez took a lot of criticism for his defensive play. The young backstop allowed 16 passed balls, which was the most by any Major League catcher. He also gave up 53 wild pitches, which was the second most in the league.

This offseason, the 25-year-old set his focus on improving defensively.

As pitchers and catchers reported to spring training yesterday, Sanchez spoke to reporters for the first time this season. In an interview with Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, he reiterated how he is focused on improving behind the plate.

“This past offseason I worked really hard on defense because I want to be better than last year. I want to fix all the little issues that I had last year, defensively. I want to keep improving. That’s the bottom line; keep improving.”

Last August, former manager Joe Girardi voiced his opinion about how his All-Star catcher was struggling to block the baseball. After Girardi’s comments, the Yankees decided to give Sanchez three days off defensively, which seemed to help get him back on track.

For the remainder of the season, Sanchez only allowed four more passed balls, and threw out 45 percent of possible base stealers. When asked about the comments from Girardi, Sanchez understands that his former skipper was trying to help him get better.

“Looking back at all the things that Girardi said, I feel that all the stuff that he said, it was to help me be better. At the end of the year, I thought he helped me get better. In this experience, you learn. There is stuff that you go through. You have to learn from that stuff and keep getting better. But you also have to move on. You’ve got to live and learn, especially from last year, and that’s the focus.”

According to Hoch, Sanchez seemed to appear a bit slimmer as he arrived at the Yankees’ spring training complex on Tuesday. However, the 25-year-old said that he weighs the same as last year, which is approximately 230 pounds.

Heading into his second full Big League season, it will be interesting to see if Sanchez’s offseason work will help him improve defensively. We all know what he is capable of doing offensively, but it would be a huge benefit for the Yankees if he can rectify his struggles behind the dish.

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Clint Frazier: ‘I think I’ll surprise some people when spring starts’ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/clint-frazier-not-fazed-by-yankees-crowded-outfield/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/clint-frazier-not-fazed-by-yankees-crowded-outfield/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 00:41:28 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57853   A crowded outfield doesn’t seem to be bothering Clint Frazier. Despite reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton joining an outfield group of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees’ 23-year-old rookie told the New York Post on Tuesday that he believes there’s room for him on the big league roster. “I […]

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A crowded outfield doesn’t seem to be bothering Clint Frazier.

Despite reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton joining an outfield group of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees’ 23-year-old rookie told the New York Post on Tuesday that he believes there’s room for him on the big league roster.

“I think I’ll surprise some people when spring [training] starts,” Frazier told the Post. “I did a lot of work this offseason, and I’ll show I’m ready to contribute to this team if given the opportunity.

“I’m really excited. I don’t know how you couldn’t be, knowing all the success Stanton has had. I want to be a part of this with him.”

Frazier, who slashed .231/.268/.448 (142 plate appearances) with four home runs, four triples, nine doubles, and 43 strikeouts in 2017, wasn’t worried about the offseason trade rumors either. Although his name was mentioned in potential packages for Pirates’ starter Gerrit Cole, Frazier told the Post that he was confident he’d remain with the Yankees. Ultimately, New York balked on the trade idea, and the Houston Astros reached an agreement for Pittsburgh’s right-hander in January.

“As far as I knew, I wasn’t getting traded,” Frazier said.

Entering spring camp, Frazier aims to make adjustments to his plate approach, adding that he worked on his “mobility, flexibility and a little strength” during the winter.

Perhaps a sensational spring could catapult Frazier to the Bronx on Opening Day, but based on the Yankees’ bevy of outfielders, all signs point toward the former first-round draft pick beginning the year with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he played 74 games last season.

“Everyone knows what they’re capable of, and I do know what I can do,” Frazier said. “I think I’m in a good spot, regardless of who’s around me.”

 

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Aaron Boone expects his Yankees to be great http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/aaron-boone-expects-yankees-great/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/spring-training/aaron-boone-expects-yankees-great/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:23:35 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57845   As new Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone sat down to address the media for his first official presser of spring training, the first question thrown his way was the perfect way to begin. Aaron Boone describes the “surreal” experience of opening camp as manager of the New York @Yankees. pic.twitter.com/Xfn3bI0bat — YES Network (@YESNetwork) February […]

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As new Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone sat down to address the media for his first official presser of spring training, the first question thrown his way was the perfect way to begin.

“It was a bit surreal,” Boone responded after taking a moment to let the question sink in. Preparing to manage a ballclub for the first time, Boone appears to already fit into the culture the 2017 Yankees rejuvenated. A young, aggressive core of power bats and power pitching, operating at a higher level than expected, years ahead of schedule is hungrier than ever, and their new manager is perpetuating that hunger.

When asked exactly how Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton would be handled, Boone left it relatively open-ended reiterating the selfless win-first mentality we have come to hear regarding both players. When asked how second and third base would be handled, he made it very clear that almost everyone is still in the mix. However the first three names mentioned by the Yankees’ skipper were Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade. It still appears to be somewhat of an “open competition” with the highly touted rookies out in front.

While Boone would not yet release his opening day starter, or officially announce who holds the starting centerfield position, he did make a few things abundantly clear. He understands the expectations this team has heading into this season (and every season) and he expects to win.

There is a sense of urgency for the 2018 season. The Yankees with their loaded roster of talent will not be taking anyone by surprise this year. They aren’t the fun-loving, likable Yankees anymore. The Evil Empire is back, and in the Bronx there is only one goal every single season, and Aaron Boone understands exactly what that goal is:

 

Follow me on Twitter, @JaredSaul

 

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Aaron Boone press conference set for Tuesday at noon http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-boone-press-conference-set-tuesday-noon/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/aaron-boone-press-conference-set-tuesday-noon/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 01:29:12 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57834 YES Network is scheduled to carry Aaron Boone‘s spring training introductory press conference live at noon on Tuesday from George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Boone officially kicking off his managerial career is one of several storylines that will unfold in the weeks leading up to Opening Day: How will the position battles at […]

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YES Network is scheduled to carry Aaron Boone‘s spring training introductory press conference live at noon on Tuesday from George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.

Boone officially kicking off his managerial career is one of several storylines that will unfold in the weeks leading up to Opening Day:

How will the position battles at 2B and 3B play out? How will Giancarlo Stanton adjust to the pinstripes, increased media attention and Aaron Judge comparisons? Can Gary Sanchez show improvement on defense? Will Greg Bird stay healthy? Is Brian Cashman going to add to the rotation, or make a run at Eduardo Nunez or Mike Moustakas? Can Jacoby Ellsbury reclaim his starting CF spot?

For the first time in a long time, camp will have buzz again — the same buzz it had when the Bronx Bombers were a team of rockstars 10 or so years ago. It all begins on Tuesday when pitchers and catchers report.

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Goose Gossage, with no spring invite, calls out Yankees’ Brian Cashman http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/goose-gossage-calls-out-yankees-brian-cashman/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/goose-gossage-calls-out-yankees-brian-cashman/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 21:00:26 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57827   Goose Gossage has been left off the Yankees’ list of spring training guest instructors for this season, and it appears the 66-year-old Hall-of-Fame reliever isn’t too fond of the man calling the shots in New York’s front office.  “I don’t like [general manager Brian] Cashman,” Gossage told NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty in a phone interview on […]

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Goose Gossage has been left off the Yankees’ list of spring training guest instructors for this season, and it appears the 66-year-old Hall-of-Fame reliever isn’t too fond of the man calling the shots in New York’s front office. 

“I don’t like [general manager Brian] Cashman,” Gossage told NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty in a phone interview on Monday. “That’s all. It’s not a secret.”

Over the past few years, Gossage has been in the news for a slew of controversial comments toward the Yankees and the game. In 2016, he called out veteran slugger Jose Bautista for his on-field celebrations, claiming that his bat flips and flaunting were “a disgrace” and embarrassing to all Latin American players. In 2017, Gossage was critical of baseball’s all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera and Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman, telling NJ.com that his career accomplishments couldn’t compare to “great” relievers like Rivera who were only used in one-inning roles.

According to Kuty, Gossage said that Cashman, who was named Baseball America’s 2017 Executive of the Year, would prefer “to have a nerd in uniform.”

“If he had any balls, he’d do what he wants to do,” Gossage continued. “He doesn’t think he needs any baseball people around. Maybe he’s right. The way the game is being run today, maybe you don’t.

“The game is so different today. Like I said, real baseball guys for years made a career out of baseball. You’re not a coach anymore. You have to be their best friend.”

Gossage also believes that his past comments influenced the Yankees’ decision to keep him off the list, admitting to Kuty that his remarks turned him into a “disruption.” Nevertheless, Gossage had more words for Cashman.

“I didn’t get a call either way. There is no respect for older players,” Gossage said. “There’s no respect for anybody who has any real baseball knowledge. That’s the way it is. That’s what I don’t agree with.”

The Yankees’ first official workout for pitchers and catchers will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 14, in Tampa, Fla.

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Frazier to Mets, RIP Thumbs Down, & A Pitchers HR Derby – The Bronx Pinstripes Show http://bronxpinstripes.com/podcast/frazier-mets-rip-thumbs-pitchers-hr-derby-bronx-pinstripes-show/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/podcast/frazier-mets-rip-thumbs-pitchers-hr-derby-bronx-pinstripes-show/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 18:38:14 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57822 ANNOUNCEMENT: Tickets for the Bronx Pinstripes regular season events are now on sale! Go to: https://shop.bronxpinstripes.com/ to purchase! #210 – First we discuss details about the BPCrew events this summer including how to purchase, prices, and pre-game party details! Yankees topics include: Todd Frazier signing with the Mets, officially retiring Thumbs Down, acquiring Russell Wilson […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Tickets for the Bronx Pinstripes regular season events are now on sale! Go to: https://shop.bronxpinstripes.com/ to purchase!

#210 – First we discuss details about the BPCrew events this summer including how to purchase, prices, and pre-game party details! Yankees topics include: Todd Frazier signing with the Mets, officially retiring Thumbs Down, acquiring Russell Wilson is a publicity stunt, Yu Darvish’s comments about free agency (note: we recorded before Darvish signed with the Cubs), and Joe Girardi’s debut on MLB Network. Mailbag questions cover: seeing what we have in Miguel Andujar, HR record that might fall this season, what gimmick the team will adopt in 2018, Betances’ workload, and a pitchers-only HR Derby. We talk about David Wells writing another book as the final topic.

GIVEAWAY ALERT: We will be giving away a free t-shirt to a randomly chosen listener who gives us a 5-star rating and review in iTunes! Make your reviews funny, clever, and/or original — we will select our favorite one each week.

Dates for 2018 Bronx Pinstripes Spring Training trip:

  • Mar 23 v. BOS – Friday, 1:05
  • Mar 24 v. TOR – Saturday, 1:05

Dates for the 2018 Bronx Pinstripes Regular Season events:

  • Apr 7 v. BAL – Saturday, 1:05
  • May 26 v. LAA – Saturday, 7:15
  • Jun 29 v. BOS – Friday, 7:05
  • Jul 28 v. KC – Saturday, TBD
  • Aug 11 v. TEX – Saturday, TBD
  • Sep 15 v. TOR – Saturday, TBD

Get in touch:
@YankeesPodcast
@Andrew_Rotondi
@ScottReinen

Submit Mailbags

Call the voicemail line: 646-480-0342

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Brett Gardner: Yankees’ expectations are ‘super high, sky-high’ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/brett-gardner-yankees-expectations-are-super-high-sky-high/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/brett-gardner-yankees-expectations-are-super-high-sky-high/#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 21:12:34 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57812 When full-squad workouts officially begin on Monday, Feb. 19 down in Tampa, veteran outfielder Brett Gardner will enter his 11th season with the Yankees, remaining the longest-tenured player in the organization. With a star-studded, overstocked outfield — which general manager Brian Cashman considers to be the club’s position of strength — Gardner hopes to return […]

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When full-squad workouts officially begin on Monday, Feb. 19 down in Tampa, veteran outfielder Brett Gardner will enter his 11th season with the Yankees, remaining the longest-tenured player in the organization.

With a star-studded, overstocked outfield — which general manager Brian Cashman considers to be the club’s position of strength — Gardner hopes to return to New York once his contract expires after this upcoming season. But in the meantime, the 34-year-old is eager to pursue another championship.

“I think the expectations for our team are super high, sky-high,” Gardner said in a Q&A with New York Post’s Steve Serby. “I feel like we had a much better season than a lot of people kind of predicted and a lot of people thought we would kind of have. We proved a lot of people wrong. … I think anytime with the Yankees, any years you don’t win the World Series it’s a disappointment, but this year we obviously didn’t even make it to the World Series but it didn’t feel like so much of a disappointment.

“With some of these young kids that we have, just seeing the talent that they have and what they have between their ears and what they have inside of ’em, the way they play the game, it’s exciting for us as veteran players and the coaches that not only at the big league level but have helped them all along the way through the minor leagues, and I think most importantly it’s just exciting for our fans. The way that we played last year with such energy and excitement and being able to make it back to October, that’s what it’s about in New York and it was a lot of fun.”

This past October, the Yankees fell just one game shy of their first World Series appearance since 2009, as the Houston Astros won the decisive Game 7 of the ALCS and ultimately claimed their first world champioship. Last February, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA season projections listed New York as an 82-win team. This time around, PECOTA has the Yankees projected as American League East champions with 96 wins.

Since Gardner arrived in 2008, all five AL East teams have clinched a division title at least once. The Yankees haven’t done so in the last five seasons, but Gardner believes his team is suited for a few champagne celebrations in 2018.

“I don’t think that the expectations should ever be lowered,” Gardner told Serby. “I think that the AL East and the American League and baseball in general is as competitive as it has ever been, at least as competitive as I have seen in my 10 years. It’s a tough battle every year, but that’s our goal, is to win the division and get back to the playoffs and do everything we can to make it back to the World Series and win the World Series. So with the guys that we have in place, I think that we’re definitely capable of doing that.”

Back in 1961, the Yankees’ outfield duo of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris — known as the “M&M Boys” — hit a momentous 115 home runs combined in the regular season, en route to the franchise’s 19th World Series title. 

This year, the Yankees’ outfield duo of Aaron Judge and reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton could break that record. After all, they were only four homers shy of 115 this past season.

“I think that Stanton obviously is a guy who’s still young but he’s been around a little longer, obviously had more success than Aaron to this point,” said Gardner, who happened to hit a career-high 21 homers last season. “They’re very similar players in so many ways. Everybody wants to compare ’em because they’re as big as they are … the position that they play and the way that they play and the way that they hit, and just the sheer power that they have, I think that Giancarlo is definitely somebody has already started to pick his brain and is gonna continue to, and continue to learn from him.

“The other side is Giancarlo, he’s probably never played in an atmosphere that some of us guys played in just as recently as last September and October. I know that he’s super excited to get to New York and to experience the bright lights and the big city. He’s a guy that is very, very, very competitive and to this point in his career, he’s never had a chance to go into the postseason and do those things that he aspires to do, and hopefully we get a chance to do that together this year.”

Although the Yankees’ roster has seen little changeover this winter (aside from the addition of Stanton), the majority of the coaching staff has been remodeled. In November, the club elected to not retain manager Joe Girardi for an 11th season, and in December, Cashman and executives selected former major leaguer and ESPN analyst Aaron Boone to be Girardi’s successor. 

“Very excited about getting to know him better, playing for him,” Gardner said of Boone. “I’ve never played for anybody else in the big leagues except Joe Girardi, so it’ll be a little different for me having a different coaching staff. That’s something that us as players, we have to just continue to stay motivated and continue to adapt to different changes, and I think we’re poised to have a really, really great season, and I know he’s excited to lead us into the season.”

The Yankees enter spring training with several intriguing storylines, but Gardner’s message to fans is this: Show up early, and show up often.

“Come out early and watch these guys take BP. I think it’s gonna be fun,” he said. “I think I’m gonna start taking batting practice inside so those big guys don’t make me look bad. Not just Giancarlo Stanton, but you’ve got guys like Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres competing for a job in the infield and possibly both those guys could potentially be in the lineup Opening Day, and just a lot of young guys that have got a lot of talent and are ready for their chance, and we’re excited about it.”

The entire Q&A between Gardner and Serby can be accessed here.

 

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A healthy Greg Bird is ready for the Yankees to soar http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/a-healthy-greg-bird-ready-for-yankees-to-soar/ http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/a-healthy-greg-bird-ready-for-yankees-to-soar/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 01:41:41 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=57800 Greg Bird is already down in Tampa to begin his Spring Training workouts. Speaking with Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees’ first baseman discussed his 2017 injuries, the magical run the team made into October, and his expectations for the upcoming season. Bird was one of the hottest hitters on the team last spring, launching […]

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Greg Bird is already down in Tampa to begin his Spring Training workouts. Speaking with Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees’ first baseman discussed his 2017 injuries, the magical run the team made into October, and his expectations for the upcoming season.

Bird was one of the hottest hitters on the team last spring, launching eight homers and leading all other players with 16 extra-base hits. He was poised to become a staple in an already dangerous Yankees’ lineup that featured rookie Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. However, lingering issues stemming from a foul ball taken off his right ankle on March 30 landed him on the disabled list after just 19 games.

After a successful surgery to remove a bone from the ankle, Bird made his return on August 26 and his impact was felt immediately. In 29 games down the stretch, he slugged eight home runs, collected 25 RBI and hit .480 with runners in scoring position.

The 25-year-old didn’t slow down in October, either. He hit two dingers in the ALDS, including one off Andrew Miller in Game 3, and another in the ALCS. Now fully healthy, Bird is ready to prove that this small sample size was no fluke.

“I think people saw it, but I want to do it for a full season,” Bird said. “I’ve got to do it for a full season. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s what I want to do.”

Another thing that wasn’t a fluke? The “rebuilding” Yankees 2017 run.

“It’s a good feeling. We’re on the map, and that’s good,” Bird said. “We said we were going to surprise people last year. That was our thing, and this year it’s not a surprise anymore. We’re a good team and people know that. They’re going to be coming after us, and we’re going to be going after them.”

It’s hard not to get excited with names like Judge, Stanton, Sanchez and Gregorius in the lineup. Couple that with a strong rotation and Bird fully expects good things for the club.

“I think there’s a lot of possibilities there,” Bird said. “I think our pitching staff has a chance to be really good too, which is huge. They’re going to carry us. The offense will be good, I think, and that pitching staff can do a lot of damage too. You match those up and you’ve got a great team. Then you make it a good clubhouse like it is, and it’s even better.”

Falling one game short of the World Series is a tough pill to swallow, but Bird is only focused on 2018.

“I was just ready to go again,” Bird said. “After we lost, it was upsetting, but it was like, ‘All right, let’s go again. Let’s get ready to go again.’ And who better to do it with than these guys? It’s an awesome group. We’re close and we know each other well. The sky is the limit.”

 

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