Nathan Eovaldi has potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starter

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Nathan Eovaldi arrived at the Yankees complex this morning in order for everyone to get their first glimpse of him. One of the main things Eovaldi did today was throwing a live batting practice session.

Eovaldi has been known to throw hard, and he has the potential to be a top flight starter in the rotation. In fact, Yankees catcher Brian McCann was sent video of him over the offseason to do a little bit of homework, and felt Eovaldi could be a main contributor to the 2015 rotation.

“I think he’s eventually going to be a top-of-the-rotation starter,” McCann said. “With that stuff… I haven’t really gotten to mix with him as far as interacting with him, but you hear great things about his makeup, and you put those two things together, his ceiling is as high as it can be. You throw 96 mph and you’re an uncomfortable at-bat. Then you start learning the ins and outs of pitching, what you can and can’t do in certain situations, and when to elevate, when not to elevate, when to bounce a slider. You learn those things, with his stuff, I think the sky is the limit.”

Although Eovaldi is just 25-years-old, he’s already made 79 big league appearances with the Miami Marlins. But while Eovaldi throws hard, the Yankees have expressed their concerns about his low strikeout numbers. One of the things the team wants Eovaldi to work on this Spring is his breaking pitches.

“We’ve talked about developing his repertoire and having him establish confidence in all his pitches in all the counts,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s one thing to have three or four pitches, but it’s another thing to have the confidence ..read more

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Brian McCann on the shift and David Carpenter

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Brian McCann arrived to camp on Friday along with the rest of the pitchers and catchers and started doing mandatory workouts today. He did batting practice and caught one bullpen session to begin preparing for a bounce back 2015 season. Following his workout, he held a press conference discussing his want to beat the shift in 2015 and his former teammate while with the Atlanta Braves David Carpenter.

Brian McCann on beating the shift: “I want to hit the ball where it’s pitched. It’s not necessarily that I’m going to try to go up there and hit the ball to left field. If it’s away from me, it needs to go to left field. If they come in on me, I need to be able to pull it, but pull correctly. If you pull correctly, you create back spin which is going to help you hit home runs. … If I hit two or three singles in a row to left field, they’re going to continue to play the shift because that’s where my power is. That’s just the way it is and whether that takes a couple of points off my batting average, if I take the approach I have day in and day out for 500 at-bats, at the end of the year things will be there.”

Brian McCann on the shift not being a main factor in his lackluster 2014: My bat path last year got out of whack, for whatever reason. I had to go back this offseason and kind of study what I was doing wrong. I was able to pinpoint what the problem was and I feel good coming into camp. … The whole reason I went down to no toe tap ..read more

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CC Sabathia throws first bullpen of the Spring

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CC Sabathia threw his first bullpen of the Spring this morning, which included fastballs and changeups. But if there’s one thing Sabathia is focused on, it’s perfecting his pitches so he can have a healthy and successful 2015 season.

“Just making sure that my control is where it needs to be (this season),” Sabathia said. “(Making sure) my two-seamer is good and my changeup is better than it’s been. Just making sure that I can spot up and throw the ball where I need to. I’ve been talking to Andy (Pettitte) a lot about how he would attack guys later in his career, so I think I’ve got a pretty good plan.”

Sabathia hopes the results speak for themselves, considering he’s 34 years old and had two years of sub-par seasons; one from diminished results and one for a knee injury that sidelined him since last May. Sabathia had PRP injections throughout the offseason to help with his degenerative knee and he’ll need another injection right around the All-Star break. He slightly altered his offseason workout plan to protect his knee, but it’s not something he thinks about when throwing his bullpens.

“I feel like playing catch and throwing off the turf mound that I did, I went as hard as I can go,” he said. “So, no (it’s not a concern). I wanted to come down here with a clear mind and just go out and pitch. I feel like I passed every test leading up to coming down here.”

Some Notes

Dellin Betances was scheduled to throw a bullpen today. He threw a few of them before Spring Training and he’s scheduled to start facing hitters next week.

Esmil Rogers came to camp stretched ..read more

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Alex Rodriguez has to prove himself to earn playing time

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As long as Alex Rodriguez is on this team, he has a spot on the Yankees roster. But if Rodriguez wants playing time, manager Joe Girardi said Rodriguez has to prove himself in order to be penciled in the lineup everyday.

“He’s on our roster, but I think you have to prove yourself in a sense for playing time,” Girardi said. “How you fit in, because we really haven’t seen him play for two years and we really don’t know where he’s at. It’s something that I think he has to prove.”

Rodriguez didn’t have to prove himself for a long time, but this year it’s different. Rodriguez is almost two years removed from the game and he’s bordering onto the age of 40. Having an automatic spot in the lineup for Rodriguez is now a thing of the past.

“He’s had it when he was a young player,” Girardi said of the challenge Rodriguez faces of trying to earn playing time. “I think every young player goes through that, fighting to get to the big leagues. As a young player, I think it’s important that you embrace that challenge and you embrace the challenge of proving to everyone that you can play. As an older player, I think you have to embrace the challenge to prove to everyone that you can still play, because that’s what happens. The whispers start, you have a bad week, ‘Is this the beginning of the end?’ That’s what happens when you’re an older player. For him, he’s going to have to embrace it.”

Girardi is going to place Rodriguez in the DH spot a lot when the Yankees begin exhibition games next month, but he also wasn’t opposed to having Rodriguez ..read more

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Stephen Drew excited for first Spring Training since 2011

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Position players aren’t slated to report to Tampa until February 25, but Stephen Drew made sure he got here early along with third basemen Chase Headley, right fielder Carlos Beltran and backup first basemen Garrett Jones. Drew’s excited for the 2015 season, but he’s more excited because this is his first Spring Training since 2011, and this gives him the opportunity to get into playing shape.

“I’m excited to get here, to be here back with the Yankees,” Drew told the media. “I’m just hoping nothing happens.”

For those not familiar with Drew’s history, let’s recap why Stephen Drew missed the last three Spring Trainings:

— In 2012, Drew broke his ankle and was forced to miss all of Spring Training.

— In 2013, Drew suffered a concussion and only had 16 at-bats.

— In 2014, Drew didn’t sign a contract until July, due to him not accepting a qualifying offer and no team offering him a deal in the offseason.

Drew’s lack of Spring Training last year might have had something to do with his horrendous 2014 season, which prompted him to be traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees at the July 31st trade deadline. Everyone wondered all offseason where Drew was going to sign and many were surprised it ended up being with the Yankees. Before Drew, it seemed the Yankees were interested in having a Spring competition between Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder but with the signing of Drew, it seems the Yankees might be putting their plans of having Refsyder play second base at the major league level on hold.

The Yankees are hoping Drew ..read more

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Joe Girardi on Opening Day lineup, six-man rotation and more

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Now that we had gotten a vague idea on the main topics of Joe Girardi‘s press conference (the rotation, Alex Rodriguez, etc.), we can finally dig a little deeper and review his thoughts on the issues that were speculated about. I had a few quotes of his jotted down in a notebook after watching his press conference the first time and it’s funny what you pick up when you decide watch the same press conference the second time. The second time around, I picked up some quotes of Girardi discussing the possibility of a six man rotation, determining the Opening Day lineup, the changes in the AL East and even the possibility of having co-closers after the departure of David Robertson.

Joe Girardi on the possibility of a six-man rotation: “It’s something that we will talk about. As far as having a six-man rotation all the time, no, but if you get into some long stretches where you’re playing 18 days in a row, could we interject a sixth starter for a start to give the guys an extra day’s rest? Absolutely.”

Joe Girardi on determining the Opening Day lineup: “Figuring out our batting order I think is something important, because there are some people we don’t know exactly where they are at, and there are obviously some new people in camp. I think the importance of the games in the last two weeks will determine our order a lot. I think with a healthy Carlos Beltran will help. A healthy Mark Teixeira, we expect more production. Brian McCann, who’s been here for a year. You incorporate a young ..read more

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Joe Girardi addresses the media for the first time this year

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Joe Girardi held his annual “State of the Yankees” address at camp this morning, and covered quite a few topics from players competing for playing time to Alex Rodriguez to the current state of the Yankees rotation.

— Girardi started the press conference by saying this year’s Spring Training will be more of an open camp than usual. While the Yankees basically have the roster all but locked, there are still competitions for playing time. The Yankees don’t know if Didi Gregorius is going to platoon with Brendan Ryan, if Stephen Drew is going to be a legitimate second basemen, how much playing time they expect from Alex Rodriguez, who’s the closer or who will end up being in the starting rotation. One thing is certain, there are a lot of new faces in camp. So many, Girardi joked he’s going to need a bunch of name tags to identify everyone.

— Alex Rodriguez won’t report to camp early and has opted to report next Wednesday when position players are scheduled to report. Girardi was blunt on Rodriguez’s situation: Rodriguez is on the roster but he has to prove to Girardi he can still play, considering no one has seen Rodriguez play an actual game in almost two years.

— Girardi said he was encouraged by Ivan Nova‘s progress as he rehabs from Tommy John Surgery. He’s also optimistic on CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka, but also kept in mind neither Sabathia or Tanaka have played in an actual game this year.

Some Notes

— Masahiro Tanaka spoke to the media following ..read more

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MLB announces new pace of play rules

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Joe Girardi is currently in the middle of a Yankees press-conference (there will be more on that later in the afternoon), but Major League Baseball just released a press release on the new pace of play rules as well as a few other tidbits going into the 2015 season:

Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark and Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, the Chairman of Major League Baseball’s Pace of Game and Instant Replay Committees, today jointly announced additions to the sport’s pace of game program, which will be effective in Spring Training, the regular season and the Postseason, and a series of modifications to the instant replay system. The World Umpires Association also has given its assent to the new efforts, which will be reviewed by the parties following the conclusion of the 2015 World Series.

PACE OF GAME

· The pace of game program will enforce the batter’s box rule, requiring that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box unless one of a group of exceptions occurs. The new rule at the Major League level mirrors 6.02(d), which was in place in Minor League Baseball in 2014. (See the end of this press release for how 6.02(d) appeared in the 2014 Official Baseball Rules.)

· A second new component to the pace of game program is the addition of timers that will measure non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each Major League game. One timer will be installed on or near the outfield scoreboard, and a smaller timer will be installed on the façade behind home plate near the press box. Immediately following the third out of each half-inning, the timer ..read more

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