Joe Girardi Lays Out Yankees Plans for Spring Training

Yesterday was the official start of spring training as pitchers and catchers were due to report. Position players report next week and games will be underway shortly after that.

With the start of camp manager Joe Girardi spoke with reporters and laid out some spring training plans for his Yankees squad (thanks to Chad Jennings of the Journal News for the info).

On the lineup: “I think our No. 1 concern is ironing out our lineup,” Girardi said. “When I say it’s a concern, I’m not concerned that we don’t have the players to do it, I’m concerned with where you place them.”

Thoughts: The main spots up for grabs in the lineup are the no. 2 and no. 5 spots. Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson are the favorites for the no. 2 spot, but the no. 5 spot is more up for grabs with Jorge Posada probably being the favorite.

On the rotation: The battle for the 5th spot doesn’t start immediately. The players vying for the spot will probably have about a week to settle in to camp before Girardi starts judging them. “Tomorrow the message will be, look, we’re just getting ready right now,” Girardi said.

Whoever doesn’t win the rotation spot will go to the bullpen. “I would envision that they go to the bullpen,” Girardi said. He also said that spring training statistics aren’t going to be the deciding factor.

Thoughts: Good to hear that the Yankees don’t plan on using either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain in the minors to keep them stretched out. Some people have advocated this as a way to keep them stretched out, but I think it makes the Yankees worse to have one of them in the minors and it doesn’t help anybody if one of them were injured in the minors.

On who the centerfielder might be: “What is the best fit for each of the guys, not individually, but as a combination,” Girardi said. It seems that part of the decision is going to be about who adapts better in left field.

Thoughts: The Yankees haven’t used Gardner in left field at all in his time in the majors and I don’t know how much he played there in the minors. It does seem reasonable to think that Granderson could be the better left fielder. I’m glad the Yankees seem to be going into this with an open mind.

Jennings also reported that the Yankees are planning on another outing like last year’s billiards outing although they won’t necessarily be playing pool this time. Girardi has already vetoed bowling and paintball for fear of injuries.

Aside from how the bullpen is constructed and who the spare outfielders are, I think this gives us a pretty good idea of where the Yankees are right now.

Your thoughts?

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3 Responses to Joe Girardi Lays Out Yankees Plans for Spring Training

  1. smurfy says:

    Oh, gee, an open page and an invitation. Sounds like a chance to get in trouble. Ahhh, here goes.

    Re: batting order envisioning
    Joe’s got a fun puzzle: we got a lotta parts that work, a fine, strong engine core, and some new parts to replace some older, very big parts.

    Focussing on 2 and 5 probably means leaving the pistons alone. Nick J for #2? That’s the smart money, for sheer OBP. Curtis the big G? How about on-base Swisher?

    Looking at Nick’s numbers on FanGraph, I see his slugging was also pretty dandy till last year. Maybe he decided to focus on bat control, or maybe some injury that I’m not up on yet. I am thinking of him for #5. Seems to me pretty good protection for Alex if the next man behind him presents the risk to fill the bases to a high degree, as he does.

    The TV guys are always saying, “Why should he give Pujols anything to hit? He would rather take his chances with the next hitter.” But I am thinking that if there is a man or two on, he can’t risk walking Alex if #5 hits as well (think Texeira) or if he hits and walks, and presents good bat control and such acumen, as, probably, Nick J. does.

    Don’t mean to ignore my beloved Jorge, here. You need that slugger, with good discipline, to stand in reserve, at the end of the daisy chain, to bring ‘em on home.

  2. smurfy says:

    Damn. I was look at Nick Johnson's numbers. Gotta use Swish till Nick gets a nick name.

  3. smurfy says:

    For a community enhancing activity, Joe says bowling is too risky. Is he afraid Joba’s going to try to get those pins on the fly? Or is his worry that poor old Mo is going to let it go backwards, and wipe out the whole bullpen?

    Here’s a couple ideas: Disney World has a new Harry Potter attraction, where you get to ride a broomstick with a dragon chasing you. Too risky, still? How ‘bout miniature golf with costumes? Or, a sociology lesson down at The Top’s Off?