New York Yankees: Yankees Winners and Losers Halfway Through Spring Training
The New York Yankees are continuing to limp through spring training.
Injuries in both corner infield spots and now in the outfield have the Bronx Bombers scrounging for options.
Even the captain, Derek Jeter, hasn't played at shortstop, and with Robinson Cano in the World Baseball Classic, New York is playing with literally a new-look infield.
But a big part of spring training is getting young players time and opportunities on the big league level, and that is exactly what these injuries have done for New York.
So as we near the midway point in preseason baseball, lets take a look at the winners and losers for the Yankees.
Winner: Ronnier Mustelier
What a story.
The Cuban defector has worked his way through the Yankees' farm system with a quick bat, and now he is competing for a spot on the team.
Ronnier Mustelier has moved from Single-A through Triple-A over the past two seasons with a .324 average and .845 OPS.
This guy has made sacrifices to play in the pros and may be earning his chance.
Making this kind of impact at all after the journey he made to get here from Cuba is a win in itself.
If Mustelier makes the squad, it’s a huge win.
Loser: Phil Hughes
Since he burst through the Yankees' farm system and became an All-Star in 2009, it hasn’t exactly been easy for Phil Hughes.
This spring has been a microcosm of his past few seasons in New York.
Hughes came into spring training in good shape and mind, but a bulging disk in his back in mid-February sidelined him.
Now the right-hander is just getting back on the mound and is in danger of missing his first few starts.
Although this isn’t a major injury, it’s a setback in his preparations for the season.
Hughes may not be in danger of losing his spot in the rotation, but with his absence in the spring and the strong outings by both Ivan Nova and David Phelps, that door may be beginning to open.
Winner: David Phelps
With the aforementioned injury to Hughes, David Phelps has been taking advantage of his opportunities.
This spring, Phelps has thrown 14 innings allowing only one run.
But much like last season, Phelps isn’t being thought of as a regular starter in the rotation.
Phelps is pushing to make it as the Yankees’ fifth starter, and with Hughes down, that hope may become a reality.
Loser: Curtis Granderson
It was a tough start to the year for Curtis Granderson, fracturing his forearm in February.
The Yankees center fielder will miss all of spring training and Opening Day, leaving the Yankees with a hole in center field until his return.
In the final year of his contract, this is not the ideal way for Granderson to head toward free agency.
Granderson may be keeping his spot in center because of his injury, but besides that, his injury prevents him from spring training and may in turn lead to a slow start.
Winner: Corban Joseph
Corban Joseph may not be a household name for Yankees fans.
But until the Dominican Republic is eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, expect to see a lot of the young infielder.
Joseph has played in 11 spring games for New York, filling in for Robinson Cano.
The infielder only has three hits this spring, and he has three errors at third.
So far, though, Joseph is looking good at second, and he gets to soak in playing in big league camp until Cano returns.
Loser: Mark Teixeira
Another victim to the injury bug for New York is Mark Teixeira.
Teixeira didn’t get a chance to spend much time with the Yankees before being informed he would be out eight to 10 weeks.
Teixeira was forced out of participating in the World Baseball Classic after experiencing pain while swinging.
Infamously known for his slow starts in the season, Teixeira won’t even be ready for Opening Day in the Bronx.
If Teixeira starts slow again, it might not be until after the All-Star break that we see him in full form.
Winner: Jose Ramirez
Quietly, Jose Ramirez has been the biggest surprise of the spring.
The 23-year-old has pitched in three games, starting two, and hasn’t given up an earned run while surrendering four hits and one walk in nine innings.
Ramirez hasn’t made it out of Single-A yet, finishing last season with the Tampa Yankees.
This right-hander has been the talk of camp though, with YES announcer Ken Singleton saying that even Brett Gardner told him Ramirez was “the real deal.”
Before 2013 most Yankees fans most likely never heard of Ramirez, but after this spring training, expect to hear more and more about him.
Ramirez by far is the biggest winner of the spring thus far, and if his success continues, he will be on a fast track to Trenton and possibly New York.