Thursday, February 27, 2014

2014 Spring Training Roster Battles: Backup Catcher

(Courtesy of USA Today Sports)

Yesterday I broke down what I believe to be the most open and even roster competition in camp this year, the battle for the utility infielder bench role.  From that, we move today to the roster battle I believe to be the least open and even and more of a token competition than anything, the competition for backup catcher.

The Yankees' upper-level catching depth has come a long way from where it stood at the end of last season.  Gone is THE Chris Stewart, replaced by Brian McCann, and returned is the man who would have made a better starting option than Stewart last year had he stayed healthy.  In his absence, a pair of prospects got chances to showcase their talents as Major League backup options and all 3 enter camp this year with a chance to nail down that job again.  After the jump, the competitors for the backup catcher spot.

Report: Yanks Monitoring Rickie Weeks (And Others)

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Just because the Yankees are "done" signing Major League-level players doesn't mean they're not still in the market for some more infield help.  In a story for The Post on Tuesday, George King mentioned a few names that the Yankees are following this spring, most notably Rickie Weeks of the Brewers and Gordon Beckham of the White Sox, and the possibility of using their catching depth as part of a trade package to obtain one, the other, or another infielder.

Spring Training News And Notes: 2/26/14

From ST debut on Tuesday to Grapefruit League debut yesterday, the Yanks were in action against the Pirates and eventually lost 6-5.

- Ivan Nova started the game and only got through 1.1 innings on 37 pitches, giving up 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 BB.  Both Nova and Brian McCann were on the same page in their evaluations, Nova saying he felt good and McCann saying he looked good, so I wouldn't worry too much about the results.

- Yesterday's standout player was Yangervis Solarte, the last-minute replacement for Eduardo Nunez at shortstop.  He went 2-3 with a 2-run HR and made a great play to bail out Nova in the 1st inning.

- Derek Jeter ran the bases at the complex again and is scheduled to play 4-5 innings at shortstop in his ST debut today.  David Phelps will take the hill to start.

- Morning pitching sessions: Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda (BP); Adam Warren, Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and Masahiro Tanaka (bullpens).

- Injury updates: Tyler Austin had his wrist examined by a doctor, Nik Turley is still resting his arm, Matt Daley was scratched from a bullpen with a sore calf, Francisco Rondon was feeling arm soreness after pitching on Tuesday, and Jose Ramirez was scratched from his scheduled appearance in yesterday's game after his back locked up warming up.  He'll be re-evaluated today.