Spring Training Tidbits

Jesus Montero apparently clubbed a monstrous homer off the “M” on the sign for the George M. Steinbrenner field in Tampa yesterday during batting practice, leaving most bystanders agape and impressed. Montero, however, downplayed the tater, stating that it was “probably the fourth- or fifth-longest ball he’s hit,” according to Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News, and expressing a desire to continue working on his swing which, Montero declares, is “not there yet.”

On the one hand, I’m impressed with Montero’s display of maturity by focusing on the need for more work, more than the homer itself. On the other, one can only surmise where his homers will land once his swing is there. My guess is outside PNC field in SWB, then somewhere in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium in the not-too-distant future. I know, a really radical prediction. For my next trick, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll require some gum and my walking shoes.

Dovetailing neatly with Sunday’s post about the durability, work ethic, and arm of C.C. Sabathia, The Big Guy has started off ST very well. According to Chad Jennings of LoHud, Sabathia was playing darts with his slider near the end of his bullpen session with Francisco Cervelli.  Posted Jennings:

Cervelli practically put his glove flat on the ground to give Sabathia a target, and Sabathia was nailing his spot, perfectly to the ghost hitter’s back foot. “No one can hit that pitch,” Cervelli said.

[Sitting back in the chair, remembering the 2009 World Series run fondly, smiling] Yeah, that’s the guy the Yankees have locked up until 2015. STUD. Stay healthy, Big Guy.

In the same post, Jennings mentioned that David Robertson is working on a change-up to complement his crisp fastball and sharp curve. Count me in favor of this. I know that in the past, Yankee coaches have stressed relievers’ using two primary pitches, with little time to use and keep sharp a third (or fourth) pitch. I understand the reasoning behind this, especially for relievers with good fastballs who might not have honed more than two solid pitches. At the same time, I’ve always had misgivings about this and, when thrown well, the change-up can be a valuable weapon to off-set a good fastball. If he can develop it, a change would accentuate Robertson’s low 90s fastball, which already sneaks up on batters with late life. Jennings did a very good job pointing out that Robertson isn’t just working on it, but working on his mechanics to not give it away, and not to push the ball by letting his release lag. This is also another thing I love about C.C. His throwing motion entails hiding the ball very well behind his back leg, making it difficult to pick up his pitches. Something to watch with Robertson.

Oh yeah, position players are in Tampa now, too. Life is good.

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