Monday, March 24, 2014

AB4AR 2014 Season Preview: The Infield

(Watch the wrist, guy.  Kinda got a lot riding on it this year.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Early in Spring Training, we heard that Larry Rothschild was stressing the importance of pitching down in the strike zone to his pitching staff this year.  A few years ago that would have been an ideal strategy for the Yankees to maximize their defensive value.  They had a Gold Glove first baseman, a pretty good second baseman, a decent-to-slightly above average third baseman, and a shortstop who, for all his range limitations at a position most requiring good range, was good at making plays on the balls he could get to.

It's no longer that infield heyday, and the Yankees enter the 2014 season much less secure in their infield makeup than they were a few years ago.  Half of those former players will not be a part of this year's team.  The half that remains is not nearly what it was as recently as 2012.  For the first time in a long time, the Yanks enter a season not knowing what to expect from their starting infield defensively or offensively.  There are more questions than answers right now, and it could be a few months before the answers to those questions materialize.  To kick off the final week of the 2014 AB4AR Season Preview Series, let's look at the 2014 starting infield.

Late Spring Training Injury Roundup

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

With 8 days until Opening Day, the Yankees enter their final week of ST game action with a few more potential roster holes to plug than they were hoping for.  It's not competition that's causing the uncertainty.  The starting lineup and rotation are mostly set, as is the bench, and the bullpen is starting to take shape.  A few late spring injuries have popped up and for now the Yankee training and coaching staffs are addressing them in a very slow and cautious manner.  None of the injuries appear to be too serious and none involve important ligaments or joints, continuing the refreshing string of good luck that Mike E. pointed out last Thursday, but there are a few that are serious enough to possibly affect the look of the Opening Day rosters.

Spring Training News And Notes: 3/23/14

(Courtesy of the AP)

The latest ST winning steak is over.  Long live the latest ST winning streak.  The Yankees fell 3-1 to the Blue Jays yesterday afternoon.

- The game was Michael Pineda's worst start to date, and it wasn't even that bad.  6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.  Threw 80 pitches, 57 for strikes, hit 1 batter, and touched low 90s on the fastball.  I'll take that from my 5th starter every damn day.

- The plan for Jacoby Ellsbury is to get him back into games in a MiL game on Tuesday.  He'll get a chance to test his sore calf without the possibility of throwing off back dating a potential DL stint.

- Ellsbury took morning BP and did fine.  CC Sabathia and David Robertson threw bullpens.

- With a scheduled off day today, Ivan Nova will make a MiL start to stay on schedule.

- Via Donnie Collins, Manny Banuelos threw 3 innings in a MiL scrimmage and touched 95 on the gun.  Kid's still got plenty of stuff.