New York Yankees: What We've Learned About the Yankees so Far in Spring Training
As we edge closer to the halfway mark in spring training, the New York Yankees are already beginning to evolve.
Although Derek Jeter hasn’t played in any games and most of New York’s top starters haven’t seen live action, there is a lot to learn from thus far.
In only a few weeks the Yankees have begun to form a new identity, without Nick Swisher and Russell Martin.
Key positions are still up for grabs and some players are shining brighter than others.
Find out what we have learned from the Bombers thus far.
Days off Often
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The injury bug has already hit the Bombers, hard.
Curtis Granderson fractured his forearm and will be on the disabled list for 10 weeks.
Phil Hughes experienced a bulging disk in his upper back and only started throwing again yesterday.
Kevin Youkilis has been in and out of the starting lineup, and Ichiro Suzuki was in a car accident (but he wasn’t injured).
Now Mark Teixeira has pulled out of the World Baseball Classic due apparently to an injury.
Just judging from spring training, we can expect some mixing and matching in the lineup to start the season.
But it will be tough to mix and match on a bench full of injured players.
Don't forget, there haven't been any injuries this year to the players on the roster in the 38-and-older club.
Grandy No Longer in Left
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Directly tied into the injuries was the trial of moving Brett Gardner to center field and Granderson to left.
That experiment ended when Granderson broke his arm.
Manager Joe Girardi said that the time on the DL will prevent Granderson from learning the new position.
This means that either Melky Mesa or Zoilo Almonte will most likely be starting somewhere in the outfield on opening day.
Mo Is Back
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With the ninth inning savior from last season in Rafael Soriano gone, the Yankees will have to depend on Mariano Rivera once again.
The 43-year-old is coming off a torn ACL. A mixture of age and a year out of baseball leads some to question whether the Yankee closer still has what it takes.
If this spring is any indication though, Rivera hasn’t lost a step.
Although Rivera may not be in the prime of his career, he is still breaking bats at camp.
The sound of a lefty’s bat snapping should be a familiar noise again for Yankee fans this year.
Catcher Battle Still Tight
Although ESPN’s Wallace Matthews sees Francisco Cervelli as the lead candidate to start behind the plate in New York, the competition at catcher is tighter than I expected.
Chris Stewart has shown a surprisingly live bat and continues to be a strong defensive catcher.
Cervelli isn’t having a bad spring at all, and should earn the start.
But something a little unexpected is that Stewart brings a little more to the table than advertised.
The Speedy Gardner Is Back
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This isn’t exactly something we learned just this spring – that Gardner is fast, but the Yankee outfielder has reminded us of his importance.
Gardner has already shown us how why we missed him so much last season.
His pesky bat and speed on the bases will be key to New York’s offense this season.
Consider this more of a review of something we learned a few years ago.
Nonetheless Gardner hasn’t disappointed this spring.