Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Return Of The Spring Training New Numbers Game

(Obviously ain't going to be any of these)

One of the more fun parts of Spring Training is the juggling and assigning of numbers to new team members.  The exercise is especially tricky for the Yankees, who have their large collection of retired numbers and a couple of numbers that are off limits until they are officially retired.  It became even trickier this season with a greater influx of new players and a collection of returning players who decided they wanted to trade up for a better number this season.  Does any of this have any bearing on how each player will perform this season?  Absolutely not.  Is it worth covering on the first day of camp when all guys are doing is putting stuff in their lockers and maybe tossing a ball around?  I think so.  Especially now that I was smart enough to not guess at the new numbers this year and open myself up to criticism for the lack of AB4AR t-shirts in the world.  New number assignments after the jump.

Matt Diaz- 22

Matty D gets the double deuce that Andruw Jones wore last year.  I don't have confidence that Diaz can or will be as productive as Jones was in his time as a Yankee, but the fact that he got a good number might give a little insight into his chances of making the team.

Dan Johnson- 27

Johnson gets the number that Raul Ibanez wore last year, and he's got a pretty big uni to fill based just on the final two months of last season.  Johnson missed out on getting his usual number 29 because he doesn't have team seniority over the next guy.

Francisco Cervelli- 29

With Rafael Soriano out of the picture and Cervelli back in the mix for a big league roster spot, he gets to reclaim his number from a few seasons ago.

Travis Hafner- 33

Hafner takes the number that adorned Nick Swisher's back during his 4 years as a Yankee, so no 1-year break to remember Swish.

David Aardsma- 34

Aardsma was 35 last season in his brief year-end appearance but takes 34 from the departed Derek Lowe this season, opening up 35 for...

David Phelps- 35

Phelps wore 41 last year, which is a perfectly fine number.  But unlike Joba and Phil before him, he chose not to stick with the digits assigned to him on his first call up and instead gets Mussina's old 35.

Kevin Youkilis- 36

Not sure if this was ever mentioned when he signed (at least not on AB4AR), but Youkilis will inherit Freddy Garcia's 36.  No way he was getting Jorge's 20, which is more than likely being held for future retirement to Monument Park.  He did get Swish's old locker, though.

Michael Pineda- 43

Pineda was assigned 35 last year because Sweaty Freddy had the 36 he wore in Seattle.  This year, he decided to switch to 43, which was passed around to at least 4 Triple-A call-ups in 2012.

Juan Rivera- 54

Real talk, 54 is a horrible baseball number.  It screams roster cut.  But it makes some sense for Rivera as it's a call back to his early Yankee days when he wore a couple of different mid-50s numbers.

(Props to Mark Feinsand for tweeting out most of these updates)

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