New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Andy Marlin)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Andy Marlin)

The last time the New York Yankees received a bona fide ace-like performance from one of their rotation members it would likely be CC Sabathia's 2011 season in which he went 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts across 237 1/3 innings of work. The club has received quality starting pitching performances over the last few seasons, but no one has taken the role as ace and run away with it.

Will someone from the 2016 rotation step up and claim the ace role? First, let's briefly describe what we mean by ace. The ace is the pitcher who tames the opposition virtually every time he steps on the mound. He dominates often, works a ton of innings and basically controls the outcome of games all by himself.

We'll take the expected starters one by one in alphabetical order and explain why they might, and might not assume the role of ace in 2016.

Nathan Eovaldi

Eovaldi, who turns 26 this month, came to New York last season with lots of questions; mainly how does a guy who throws close to 100 mph fail to strike out a ton of guys? Eovaldi worked diligently with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and began to work on his ancillary pitches. By midseason Eovaldi started to get it and he cruised through the summer becoming the performance leader of the rotation.

Eovaldi finished the season 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA (3.42 FIP). His 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched were the highest of his career. That's not a superior number, but it was a good first step for Eovaldi.

He seemed to grow as a pitcher as the year wore on and grew confident with each start. If Eovaldi continues to build on his success in 2015, he certainly has a shot of being the club's ace in 2016.

Eovaldi still needs to go deeper in games, work on limiting the number of hits he allows (10.2 H/9) and cut down on his walk rate (2.9 BB/9). But, the biggest thing holding Eovaldi back, might be the elbow issue that plagued him at the end of last season. If the injury turns into something more and Eovaldi loses zip on his fastball or the necessary spin on his splitter, he could find himself back to being a middling pitcher.

Michael Pineda

If Pineda is going to finally turn the corner, this would have to be the season. Pineda can look dominant at times and for extended periods, but it's met with downturns, something that does not happen with aces.

In 2015, Pineda did do one thing well and that's make 27 starts, the most since his rookie campaign. Pineda, 27, went 12-10 with a 4.37 ERA (3.34 FIP) with 156 strikeouts in 160 2/3 innings. Pineda continued to master the strikezone by limiting walks to a fantastic 1.2 BB/9.

Pineda might never be a workhorse type, but he has the talent to move into elite status. The problem here is he's had that same label since he burst on the scene in 2011, and nothing has really changed. Will 2016 be different?

CC Sabathia

Most of you will see this name and giggle, but the fact that Sabathia has the ability to lead the team in starts and innings pitched despite his recent struggles says something to me - he has something in the tank.

Sabathia's knee issues have been problematic for some time now, and have truly dampened his performance. Before being fitted for a knee brace toward the end of last season Sabathia was pitching much like the man who seemed to be deteriorating before our eyes - 24 GS, 138 1/3 IP, 5.27 ERA and 26 HR allowed.

After pitching with the knee brace Sabathia began to show signs of being able to compete at the level the Yankees needed - 5 GS, 29 IP, 2.17 ERA and 2 HR. It is a small sample size for sure, but it coincided with an actual change to Sabathia's physical constraints, so it should not be taken too lightly.

Sabathia is no longer a shoe-in for 30 starts and 200+ innings, but he remains the most likely candidate to reach those figures based solely on his willingness to battle on the mound. That says a lot about Sabathia's makeup, and while I do not figure he'll regain ace status, I do believe he can provide the club with moderate production in 2016.

Luis Severino

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about Severino's chances of taking over ace status of the club. He's discussed at length of wanting to grab the moniker, and having the confidence to prove he deserves it.

Severino no doubt has the talent to be an ace as he has shown great progress in his short professional career. Severino began last season in Double-A and shot through the rest of the Yankees' system. Once he took to the mound as a major league player, he didn't lose a step.

Severino showed great poise in his 62.1 innings with the Yankees. His numbers were as good as any of the other starters during the period of time - 2.89 ERA (4.37 FIP), 8.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. Severino does need to work on the walks and his home run rate (1.3 HR/9) needs to come down.

Here's the rub with Severino; he turns 22 later this month and expecting him to be the ace might not be fair. I admire his desire and love the self-assurance he exudes, but let's see him pitch a full season in the big leagues before we hand over the title of ace. 

Masahiro Tanaka

Tanaka has a lot going for him. He's still young (27), he has unquestioned ability, possesses a sound work ethic and he's a polished pitcher. He's also a ticking time bomb.

It terrible to have to continually bring up the fact that Tanaka is pitching with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. But, the possibility of a full tear and subsequent Tommy John surgery is a reality and it limits many from projecting Tanaka to dominate on the mound for a full season.

In my view, so long as Tanaka pitches with the partial tear, he's bound to find himself on the disabled list at least once each season for four to six weeks similarly to what he encountered in 2015. Despite this, Tanaka also has the best chance in my opinion to be the pitcher who makes the most of his 25 starts and 160 or so innings.

His performance in two seasons in New York shows he belongs at the top of a rotation. In 44 MLB starts (290 1/3 innings) Tanaka owns a 25-12 record with a 3.16 ERA (3.54 FIP). His strikeout rate (8.7 K/9) is solid and his walk rate is almost as good as Pineda's (1.5 BB/9). Tanaka allows too many homers but tends to limit them to solo shots thus not disrupting his bottom line too much.

All of that said, the chances Tanaka can make 30 or more starts and eclipse 200 innings are minimal. As I mentioned early on, the ace needs to be on the mound the entire season and it's hard to see that with Tanaka.

Unfortunately, looking through the rotation as it stands right now, there isn't a single member that portrays the image of staff ace. Each pitcher has at least one strike against him which precludes me from claiming one has a great chance to achieve the status. The Yankees might need to wade through another season without someone taking the rubber every five days and pitching to the status of an ace on a consistent basis.

That's not to say the Yankees cannot be successful in 2016 with five average to above-average performances this season - they can. But, I wouldn't expect a singular dominant season from a starting pitcher, but simply various spurts of supremacy from each of the members and that might be enough to remain in contention this season.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi

In a low scoring affair, the Yankees beat the Pirates 4-1 behind Billy McKinney's three-run HR and Erik Kratz's RBI single.

To see the full box score, click here!

Three things you should know about today's game...

1. The Brandon Drury era got underway with a spring training single to left field.

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Aaron Boone admits it may be too optimistic to expect prospect Thairo Estrada to be ready for the beginning of the minor league season, but says he doesn't think that Estrada will miss too much time.

Estrada is recovering at Yankees camp and has been able to use the elliptical. The gunshot wound occurred during an attempted robbery in Venezuela last month.

"There's no chance we're going to push it too much with him," Boone said, via Coley Harvey of ESPN. "But I'm still hopeful that this isn't something that is going to cost him the bulk of the season by any means..."

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone watches his team workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone watches his team workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees continue Grapefruit League play against the Pirates on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at McKechnie Field.

Who is starting for the Yankees?

RHP Domingo German, who went 7-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) with Double-A Trenton in 2017.

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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees win 00:02:01
Sweeny Murti reports from Steinbrenner Field, where the Yankees won their spring opener and Aaron Boone and Giancarlo Stanton debuted.

 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Every spectator in the stands at George M. Steinbrenner Field was looking for No. 27 in pinstripes as Giancarlo Stanton took the field for the first time as a Yankee. 

In his highly anticipated debut, Stanton said nerves weren't really a feeling he possessed walking out on the field. It's strictly business when he crosses the chalk. 

"Once I get in between the ilnes, it's ready to go," Stanton told ESPN's Coley Harvey. "But it's definitely a cool anticipation. Something new -- new and exciting."

Tags: Greg Bird
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Loud Mouths: Starting Lineup 00:05:03
The Loud Mouths discuss Dom Smith being scratched from the Mets' lineup and Giancarlo Stanton debuting in today's Spring Training games

The Yankees beat the Tigers, 3-1, in their Grapefruit League opener on Friday afternoon in Tampa.

To see the full box score, click here!

Three things you should know about today's game...

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone speaks during a news conference at baseball spring training camp, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (AP)
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone speaks during a news conference at baseball spring training camp, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (AP)

The Yankees open Grapefruit League play against the Detroit Tigers on Friday at 1:05 p.m. at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Tags: Detroit Tigers, Luis Cessa
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GEICO SportsNite: Boone ready 00:02:08
Yankees manager Aaron Boone plans to use the team's first exhibition game of Spring Training on Friday to help prepare for the 2018 season.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone plans to use the team's first exhibition game of Spring Training on Friday to help prepare for the 2018 season.


Feb 22, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees infielder Brandon Drury (29) during batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Feb 22, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees infielder Brandon Drury (29) during batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

Brandon Drury, the Yankees' newest addition, arrived at the team's spring training camp in Tampa after being acquired from the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a three-team trade that saw the Yankees ship out prospects 2B Nick Solak and RHP Taylor Widener.

Though having been on the team for mere days, Drury is already speaking like a Yankee veteran by publically focusing his attention on the World Series. 

"I'm excited. I want to win a World Series, that's the goal here,'' Drury said, via Pete Caldera of Record. "We've got the guys to do it. So, to join a group of guys like this, it's special to me..."

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson reaches up to grab a throw as he works out with the Texas Rangers during spring training baseball practice, Monday, March 3, 2014, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson reaches up to grab a throw as he works out with the Texas Rangers during spring training baseball practice, Monday, March 3, 2014, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Russell Wilson is on his way to join the Yankees at Spring Training and his locker will be next to another new Yankee, Brandon Drury, who also happens to be a childhood Seahawks fan.

Wilson announced in an Instagram video that he'll be in camp with the Yankees on Monday, February 26. He name-checked Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, saying he's looking forward to joining those guys...

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Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archive

When the Yankees pulled off Tuesday's trade for infielder Brandon Drury, it did more than solidify the team's current roster construction. It provides the team significant advantages with how it molds the organization's structure going forward.

Drury is to be paid at a pre-arbitration rate for the 2018 season (he made $553,900 in 2017, so a fair guess is $600,000 this season), which leaves the Yankees practically all of the $15 million it has been reported they would be willing to take on before the season begins. That value provides a cushion of approximately $5 million for the club to utilize during the season, and would keep the team under the competitive balance tax threshold.

Tags: Chance Adams, Jordan Montgomery, Justus Sheffield, Miguel Andujar
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New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar singles during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar singles during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees prospect Miguel Andujar looked to be on the road to starting the regular season in pinstripes. But after the signing of veteran INF Brandon Drury, it could be a start in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre instead. 

Andujar was slated the starter at third base for the Yankees all offseason. That is until New York struck a three-way deal with the D-Backs and Rays to land Drury, who was on their radar. Though Drury can play multiple infield positions, third base is his forté, and the Yankees intend for him to compete there in Tampa. 

Instead of rolling his eyes at the signing, Andjuar welcomes the competition. 

Tags: Miguel Andujar
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GEICO SportsNite: Drury's role 00:02:17
Yankees manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman discuss their excitement over Brandon Drury, but still want Miguel Andujar to be involved.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman discuss their excitement over Brandon Drury, but still want Miguel Andujar to be involved.


New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite advancing further in the playoffs than them last year and acquiring the reigning National League MVP in the offseason, the Yankees are not the favorites in the AL East, GM Brian Cashman believes.

Instead, he believes that title goes to the defending division champion Boston Red Sox.

"They're the American League East champs, so we're not on equal footing," Cashman said, according to Newsday's Erik Boland. "We're not on equal footing until we take that away from them [and] at the same time, prevent anybody that finished behind us from surpassing us and joining the fray."

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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge looks on as he hits during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge looks on as he hits during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees are being cautious with outfielder Aaron Judge following offseason shoulder surgery and won't have him make his spring training debut until next Wednesday, new manager Aaron Boone told reporters.

Judge, the AL Rookie of the Year in 2017, underwent arthroscropic surgery on his left shoulder in November to remove loose bodies and clean up cartilage, but "is in a really good place physically," according to Boone.

"In a lot of ways he's raring to go," Boone said, according to the New York Daily News' Mike Mazzeo, "but we're going to be real cautious and slow-play it a bit."

Tags: Aaron Judge
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New York Yankees right fielder Jabari Blash throws a ball during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Jabari Blash throws a ball during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees traded outfielder Jabari Blash to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday for a player to be named later or cash considerations, the team announced.

Blash, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday following the three-team trade that brought Brandon Drury to New York, only spent two months as a Yankee after he was acquired in the trade that sent Chase Headley to the San Diego Padres.

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Though overshadowed by the behemoth trio of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary SanchezGreg Bird is an important player in the Yankees' lineup. And both he and GM Brian Cashman are hoping he can stay on the field more this season. 

Bird's early career has already been ravaged by injuries, as shoulder surgery saw him miss the entire 2016 season, and he played just 48 big league games last year because of an ankle injury. 

Bird comes into Spring Training healthy, and despite his issues the past two seasons, Cashman believes he can keep it that way. 

Tags: Greg Bird, Tyler Austin
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GEICO SportsNite: Drury trade 00:02:12
In a three-way trade with the D-backs and the Rays, the Yankees have acquired 25-year-old infielder Brandon Drury.

The Yankees have acquired INF Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team deal involving the Tampa Bay Rays, the team announced.

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New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)
New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archive

Top prospects typically garner most of the attention in spring training, especially those like Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, who are the presumed favorites to land starting roles in the Yankees' infield. However, it's never wise to sleep on a mid-tier prospect that has busted it on the field to reach the big leagues like Tyler Wade managed in 2017.

Wade was provided just 58 at-bats across the three-plus months he spent on the Yankees roster in 2017. As such, Wade is no longer a rookie, but the 23-year-old is vastly inexperienced in terms of reps in the major leagues.

Tags: Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade, Chris Carelli
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Feb 19, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees players warm up during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)
Feb 19, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees players warm up during practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)

Vegas has the Yankees tied with the defending World Series-champion Astros for the best odds to win the American League pennant, per Bovada.

New York and Houston both have 11/4 odds to win the pennant, while the Indians (13/4) and Red Sox (6/1) are behind them.

The Yankees were a game short of the World Series last season, where the Astros eventually finished them off in their own Minute Maid Park on their way to their first World Series title in franchise history. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird
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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees 00:01:44
Sweeny Murti reports from Yankees Spring Training, where Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez took batting practice together.

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone watches his team workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone watches his team workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)

While the Yankees enter 2018 with World Series expectations and GM Brian Cashman also said the team's goal is to win it all for the 28th time, new manager Aaron Boone said he and the players will "embrace" the large expectations set for them.

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Murti watches Yankees BP 00:01:37
SNY's Sweeny Murti watched Yankees batting practice from beyond the fence as he tried to catch home runs from Judge and Stanton.

 (Shanna Lockwood)
(Shanna Lockwood)

Major League Baseball continues to implement new rules to increase the pace-of-play, so the game can move at a more steady pace. While the pitch clock and batter having to keep one foot in the batter's box have aided in speeding the game up, the MLB has now issued a mandate limiting the amount of mound visits for each team. 

Mound visits will be capped at six per game. The definition of a mound visit was specified by the MLB in an official announcement. 

"A manager or coach trip to the mound to meet with the pitcher shall constitute a visit," the statement read. "A player leaving his position to confer with the pitching, inlcuding a pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player, shall also constitute a mound visit, regardless of where the visit occurs or the length of the visit..."

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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees 00:05:49
Giancarlo Stanton discusses donning pinstripes for the first time and Jacoby Ellsbury quells trade rumors.

Mar 10, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) reaches on error and scores a run during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) reaches on error and scores a run during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has hit 53 home runs through his first 177 career MLB games, but perhaps his biggest accomplishment as a hitter came during Sunday's spring training batting practice when he hit a ball so hard the cover ripped off.

Seriously.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Yankees OF Jacoby Ellsbury saw diminished playing time and suffered injuries last season, but he is determined to make the most of his opportunities in spring training.

Tags: Jacoby Ellsbury
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Scottsdale Scorpions infielder Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game at Scottsdale Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Scottsdale Scorpions infielder Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game at Scottsdale Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres has definitely learned his lesson. He will focus on sliding feet first from now on. 

"I'll try not to slide head first," Torres told NJ.com' Brendan Kuty at Yankees camp in Tampa.

An arrant head-first slide from Torres into home last season ended his 2017 campaign, as he required Tommy John surgery on his left elbow after the injury. So, the Yankees are stressing the 21-year-old to go feet-first into bases. 

Tags: Gleyber Torres
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GEICO SportsNite: Boone excited 00:03:28
After an impressive offseason, Yankees manager Aaron Boone is excited to finally work with his new team this spring down in Florida.

After an impressive offseason, Yankees manager Aaron Boone is excited to finally work with his new team this spring down in Florida.


Feb 17, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) catches fly balls during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 17, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) catches fly balls during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Yankees OF Aaron Judge practiced in center field with outfield coordinator Reggie Willets on Saturday, but manager Aaron Boone said there is no plan to move the 25-year-old to the position.

Tags: Aaron Judge
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Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Yankees logo during the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Yankees logo during the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

Despite having an appendectomy on February 7th, Yankees no. 7 overall prospect RHP Albert Abreu is ready for 2018.

When Abreu began to feel a sharp pain in his stomach, he didn't know why. Then, before he knew it, he was in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery a fortnight ahead of the Yankees' first spring training game.

"It's different because you think it's something you ate that's giving you the pain," Abreu said, via Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. "If you haven't had the experience of something like that, you really don't know what's going on. Eventually, they tell you it's the appendix..."

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GEICO SportsNite: Murti on Yanks 00:02:10
SNY Yankees insider Sweeny Murti joins GEICO SportsNite to give an update on the arrival of Giancarlo Stanton to Tampa.

Stanton arrives at camp 00:03:33
As Giancarlo Stanton arrives at Yankees Spring Training, the Daily News Live panel breaks down his potential impact on the team's clubhouse.

Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton showed up to Yankees spring training in Tampa, Florida, early as he looks to get acclimated to a new team.

"I'm out of my comfort zone," Stanton, who was traded from the Marlins to New York in the offseason, said, according to ESPN's David Schoenfield. "I've done it the same way for 10 years."

The reigning National League MVP, who led the majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs last season, joined a Yankees team that came within one win of the World Series. 

"This is all new to me," Stanton said, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "It's going to be a fun new ride. I'd say it is a new excitement."

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New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances walks off the field after a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Baltimore won 7-6. (AP)
New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances walks off the field after a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Baltimore won 7-6. (AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archive

The Yankees had a surprisingly magical 2017 season with numerous high quality and breakout performances; however, there were a few players whose production the club hopes is not duplicated in 2018.

Dellin Betances

Betances has never been the model of command on the mound. His inability to control his large frame forced the Yankees to convert him to a reliever in the minors as a last-ditch effort to squeeze value out of a highly touted prospect.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Austin Romine, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Chris Carelli
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GEICO SportsNite: Sabathia news 00:01:52
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is preparing to go farther than the ALCS this season and hopes to supplant the Astros as AL champions.

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is preparing to go farther than the ALCS this season and hopes to supplant the Astros as AL champions.


New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia reacts as he walks back to the dugout in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer) (David Dermer/AP)
New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia reacts as he walks back to the dugout in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer) (David Dermer/AP)

As spring training gets underway, a number of big-name players remain unsigned: Jake Arrieta, JD Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and others. 

Meanwhile, CC Sabathia could have been in this position if he and the Yankees hadn't agreed to terms early in the offseason. If the 37-year-old was still on the open market, he'd be feeling uneasy right about now.

"I'd be panicking," Sabathia said, via Erik Boland of Newsday...

Tags: CC Sabathia
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East infielder Miguel Andujar of the New York Yankees during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
East infielder Miguel Andujar of the New York Yankees during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

When the Yankees failed to sign 3B Todd Frazier, who stayed in New York by inking a deal with the Mets, it was another sign pointing to the trust the Yankees have in rookie 3B Miguel Andujar. It appears that third base is his to lose in spring training. 

Andujar's bat appears ready for Major League pitching. Over 227 at-bats in AAA last season, Andujar hit .317/.364/.502 with 9 HR and 30 RBI. But his bat has never been doubted; there are questions about his glove.

"There's no question in my mind that he's going to hit and hit for a long time in this league," said Aaron Boone, via Erik Boland of Newsday. "And there's no question in my mind that defensively he'll be really good at some point..."

Tags: Miguel Andujar
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Dec 11, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) is introduced with general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone. (Kim Klement)
Dec 11, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) is introduced with general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone. (Kim Klement)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Even fellow big leaguers sound a bit like goggle-eyed fans when talking about Giancarlo Stanton and the next phase of the prolific slugger's career -- calling Yankee Stadium home. And veteran baseball folks barely blink when producing outsized predictions about Stanton's potential in the Bronx, in that Yankee lineup, in that homer-friendly ballpark.

That, plus the intrigue over whether Stanton can avoid injury, learn to navigate the New York fishbowl, and cope with expectations as towering as some of his home runs, makes him a must-watch this season. The best home run hitter added to a team that perhaps surprised by getting within one game of the World Series last year? That'll draw eyeballs.

It all starts when Stanton reports to Yankee camp this weekend and the club has its first full-squad workout on Monday. While folks in Tampa will have an up-close look, the curiosity about Stanton in pinstripes extends to other camps and opposing team's corridors of power...

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Expectations for Sabathia in '18 00:04:49
CC Sabathia discusses how the New York Yankees still have something to prove against the reigning champs in the American League.

After rolling his left ankle during practice, CC Sabathia wants everyone to calm down. There is nothing to worry about.

"It was during PFPs [pitchers fielding practice] and I was fielding a ball," he told The Post's George A. King III. "I am good now."

Sabathia was seen with wrap around his rolled ankle, though, which begged the question of whether or not it was really ok. He just said head trainer Steve Donohue loves practicing his work at Spring Training too. 

Tags: CC Sabathia
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GEICO SportsNite: Judge ready 00:04:09
Sweeny Murti and John Harper discuss Aaron Judge's outlook and potential bounce back seasons for Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances.

Sweeny Murti and John Harper discuss Aaron Judge's outlook and potential bounce back seasons for Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances.


Mar 10, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams (83) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 10, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams (83) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Opening Day may still be six weeks away, but a trio of Yankees hurlers are armed and ready to showcase their talents at the Major League level right now.

RHP Chance AdamsDillon Tate and LHP Justus Sheffield may not be able to find room in the Yankees rotation at the start of the season, but that doesn't mean they aren't ready for what the big leagues has to offer.

"We really do feed off each other," said Sheffield, 22, who posted a 3.12 ERA in 19 minor league starts in 2017. "That's going to push us."

Tags: Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield
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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge is introduced before Game 3 of the 2017 ALCS against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge is introduced before Game 3 of the 2017 ALCS against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archive

The Yankees will not be viewed as the lovable, up and coming "Baby Bombers" this season. Instead, the Yankees will come out of the gate as the hunted "Evil Empire," which comes with one expectation; winning a World Series title.

It is a poorly kept secret that a championship is the Yankees' Spring Training mantra year in and year out. However, over the last few seasons, fans, the players, coaches and front office would admit under truth serum that the club was not the best team in the league. Fresh off an incredible 2017 season and courtesy of a strong returning cast, more impact prospects on the horizon and a rather large addition (literally and figuratively), the 2018 Yankees have a legitimate chance to reach and win their 28th World Series.

Teams often relish the role of the underdog. Working under stamped down expectations from those outside the organization tends to create an "us versus them" mentality. The Yankees seemed to ride that sentiment through much of the 2017 season. That mindset is history.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Masahiro Tanaka
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Feb 14, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) holds a press conference during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Feb 14, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) holds a press conference during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

Aaron Judge refuses to use a shoulder injury he suffered last season as an excuse for a subpar second half.

Speaking to reporters at the Yankees' Spring Training facility in Tampa on Wednesday, the 2017 A.L. Rookie of the Year talked about the injury and subsequent surgery he underwent in November.

"I felt it midway through the season last year," Judge said. "But it came down to, 'Can you play?' And I could play. ... If I was able to play, I was going to go out there and be ready for my team."

The 25-year-old hit .284/.422/.627 and set a Major League rookie record with 52 home runs to go along with 114 RBIs and an A.L.-best 127 walks.

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New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and right fielder Aaron Judge celebrate the 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at a baseball game Tuesday, July 18, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn) (Bruce Kluckhohn/AP)
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and right fielder Aaron Judge celebrate the 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at a baseball game Tuesday, July 18, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn) (Bruce Kluckhohn/AP)

Gary Sanchez knows he needs to improve his defense after last season, and that is all he has been working on this offseason. 

"This offseason, I worked really hard on defense because I want to be better than last year," Sanchez told The Post's Dan Martin through his translator. "I want to fix all the little issues I had last year defensively and keep improving."

Sanchez came into Spring Training looking leaner as well, and though he said he didn't lose any weight, his physique could aid in his defensive abilities this season. The Yankees will hope so as his 16 passed balls last season were the most by any catcher. 

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Yankees' hunger to succeed 00:02:37
Sweeny Murti discusses Aaron Boone's desire for the Yankees to embrace their high expectations following a strong 2017 postseason run.

 (Butch Dill)
(Butch Dill)

Gleyber Torres highlighted the three Yankees who made Jim Bowden's Top 50 Prospects list as the No. 8 prospect this season.

Torres injured his non-throwing elbow last season, and it required Tommy John surgery to repair. But that didn't hinder Bowden's analysis that see the infielder being an important part of the Yankees' long-term plan. 

"Torres was the headliner in the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs in July 2016," Bowden wrote. "He's capable of playing second, short or third but most likely profiles to the Yankees long-term solution at second base. He had Tommy John surgery to his non-throwing elbow and the Yankees are hopeful he'll be healthy enough to make their team out of spring training. He is a plus defender with soft hands and an accurate arm. He only an average runner, but all of his other tools are above average. he has really quick hands and wrists at the palte and his power should come as he matures..."

Tags: Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield
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BNNY: Sweeny Murti 00:05:59
Sweeny Murti reports live from Tampa to discuss how Aaron Boone will manage a team with championship aspirations as a rookie manager.

Yankees new manager Aaron Boone stepped on George M. Steinbrenner Field hungry. And so did his players. 

In his first press conference from the Yankees' Spring Training camp in Tampa, FL, Boone noted that every player he has spoken to is ready to live up to the high expectations everyone has for them this season. But he knows it is going to take tons of work on and off the field to get to the position they covet. 

Seeing that hunger, though, couldn't make Boone any happier. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade
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Jul 2, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (13) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Jul 2, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (13) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

In their search for an infielder, the Yankees could attempt to trade for the Mets' Asdrubal Cabrera, suggests the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Among a host of other infield options available via free agency or trade, Sherman writes that "maybe even the Mets' Asdrubal Cabrera could be had via a spring training trade if necessary."

The 32-year-old Cabrera, who is expected to be the Mets' starting second baseman, will earn $8.5 million this season, after which he is eligible for free agency.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Unless the Mets are confident in Wilmer Flores as their full-time second baseman, it would seem odd for them to entertain the idea of trading Cabrera to the Yankees. And even if the Mets are comfortable with Flores at second base, putting him there would remove the option of him being the right-handed part of a platoon at first base with either Adrian Gonzalez or Dominic Smith...

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera
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Jun 16, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Stanton)
Jun 16, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Stanton)

The Yankees will be among the teams to attend the showcase of RHP Tim Lincecum, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Lincecum, 33, will throw in front of several teams, including the Braves, Brewers and Padres, according to Heyman, on Thursday at Driveline Research Lab in Seattle as he looks to make his first MLB appearance since 2016.

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