New York Yankees starting pitcher Chad Green (57) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Chad Green (57) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. (Kim Klement)

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

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played April 20, 2017.

Class A - South Atlantic League Southern Division - Charleston RiverDogs

Record: 9-6, T-2nd place, 1.0 GB

Charleston hit a rocky road this past week, winning just three of seven games. The Riverdogs' offense scored just 18 runs during the stretch and sit second to last in team home runs with just three.

No. 3 (No. 34) - Blake Rutherford (OF) leads the team with five extra-base hits, five stolen bases, 11 walks and 16 strikeouts. Despite the strikeouts, Rutherford owns a .835 OPS.

No. 10 - Albert Abreu (RHP) made one start since the last report in which he worked 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Abreu has a 1.84 ERA and has struck out 22 batters in 14 2/3 innings across three appearances.

No. 16 - Estevan Florial (OF) has seven hits in his last 18 at-bats boosting his average to .277. Florial finished Thursday's contest with a .775 OPS.

No. 26 - Donny Sands (C) continues to struggle at the plate, slashing .189/.231/.216.

No. 28 - Frecier Perez (RHP) made one start and allowed three earned runs in just four innings of work. Perez has compiled a 7.71 ERA in 9 1/3 innings this season.

Notable - Hoy Jun Park (2B/SS) leads the RiverDogs in multiple offensive categories - R (12), HR (2), RBI (11), AVG (.375), OBP (.464), SLG (.542) and OPS (1.006).

Advanced A - Florida State League North Division - Tampa Yankees

Record: 8-7, T-2nd place, 3.0 G

Tampa split three of its last six games. Tampa's offense remains in hibernation, hitting just .198 as a unit. Only one player, first baseman Matt Snyder, has an OPS over .700 (.907). Tampa's hurlers own a league-best 2.20 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

No. 4 (No. 43) - Jorge Mateo (IF/OF) is four for his last 20, which has dropped his average to .273. Mateo leads Tampa and is second in the FSL with 10 stolen bases.

No. 5 (No. 73) - James Kaprielian (RHP) underwent successful Tommy John surgery on April 18. He will miss the rest of this season and his 2018 season is also in jeopardy.

No. 13 - Domingo Acevedo (RHP) threw his best game of the young season Wednesday, going six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts. Acevedo has struck out 21 batters in 16 1/3 innings this season.

No. 19 - Nick Solak (2B) is hitting .229 with a .302 on-base percentage and a .292 slugging percentage.

No. 20 - Ian Clarkin (LHP) started two games since the last report, tossing 12 innings in which he allowed just two runs. Clarkin is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA on the season.

No. 22 - Zack Littel (RHP) was exceptional in his start this past week - 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Littel's season ERA stands at 1.64 across 11 innings.

No. 24 - Kyle Holder (SS/2B) has managed just four hits across 50 at-bats.

No. 29 - Taylor Widener (RHP) hurled five shutout innings Tuesday. He allowed just two hits, struck out seven and walked none.

Notable - Matt Snyder (1B) leads Tampa with four doubles, two homers, seven RBIs, and across his .289/.387/.553 slash line.

Double-A - Eastern League Eastern Division - Trenton Thunder

Record: 8-5, T-1st place

Trenton went 4-2 since the last report, pushing them into a virtual tie for first place. Trenton was picked up by the pitching staff this week as the hitters have cooled. The Thunder bats own a meager .701 OPS, while the pitching staff lowered its team ERA from 4.37 ERA to 2.88 since last week.

No. 1 (No. 2) - Gleyber Torres (INF) was placed on the 7-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Torres slowed down some before hitting the DL and is now slashing .237/.341/.342 

No. 6 (No. 74) - Justus Sheffield (LHP) was effectively wild in his last start going six innings allowing just one run despite walking five batters. Sheffield struck out five hitters in the contest.

No. 7 - Chance Adams (RHP) had another fine start - 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Adams is 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 16 1/3 innings.

No. 9 - Miguel Andujar (3B) is hitting .269 and paces the team in hits (14), homers (2) and RBIs (14).

Notable - Mike Ford (1B) has two home runs and 10 RBIs with a .950 OPS. He is tied with Andujar for the team lead in hits.

Triple-A - International League North Division - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

Record: 6-7, 5th place, 2.5 GB

The RailRiders lost a series at home against Buffalo and won the next at Louisville. The RailRiders found their stroke in the first two games of the Louisville series, scoring 16 runs combined. The RailRiders have yet to find the power stroke as a group, hitting just five homers this season, which places them at the bottom of the IL ranks.

No. 2 (No. 22) - Clint Frazier (OF) is hitting just .209 with a .294 on-base percentage. Frazier has five doubles and hit his first home run of the season on Tuesday. He leads the RailRiders with six extra-base hits.

No. 9 - Dustin Fowler (OF) has turned it up over the last four games, going 6-for-16, raising his average to .208 after a lackluster start.

No. 11 - Tyler Wade (UT) is hitting .354 and paces the RailRiders with 17 hits and six stolen bases.

No. 21 - Chad Green (RHP) tossed seven innings of one run ball Sunday. He allowed six hits, two walks and struck out seven batters.

Notable - Dietrich Enns (LHP) owns a 1.64 ERA across 11 innings (two starts). Enns has allowed just four hits, walked three and struck eight batters.

Extended spring training

No. 14 - Dillon Tate (RHP)
No. 17 - Wilkerman Garcia (SS)
No. 18 - Nolan Martinez (RHP)
No. 23 - Drew Finley (RHP)
No. 27 - Jorge Guzman (RHP)
No. 30 - Dermis Garcia (3B)


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.

Yankees prospect Thairo Estrada had a major scare before heading to Tampa for Spring Training, as he was shot in the hip during a robbery attempt in his home Venezuela last week. 

Estrada, who is currently recovering at the Yankees' camp, spoke about the moment two teenage boys demanded cash or his cell phone at a restuarant in Venezuela. After saying he didn't have either, the kids searched his pockets. 

And that is when the gun went off. 

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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.

Tags: Aaron Judge
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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. 

Tags: Gary Sanchez
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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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New York Yankees instructor Goose Gossage signs autographs during MLB spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees instructor Goose Gossage signs autographs during MLB spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Yankees pitcher Goose Gossage didn't receive an invitation to the team's spring training this year, and it is safe to say he isn't happy. And he is directed that unhappiness toward one person in particular: GM Brian Cashman.

Gossage has not held back his controversial opinions on current and former players as well as baseball's integration of sabermetrics, which he called a "joke" because he believes "a bunch of f---ing nerds running the game."

This time, he aired out Cashman saying the Yankees' late owner, George Steinbrenner, would have been looking for a new GM years ago if he was still alive.

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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates with shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates with shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

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

After an offseason that started off with a bang for the Yankees, the team entered into the long slog the rest of the league is entwined in as clubs wait for free agent prices to drop. For the Yankees, the slowdown has not impeded the construction of the roster - though they could still make additions - nor has it slowed down expectations that began once they were knocked out of the 2017 postseason in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

As pitchers and catchers officially report to camp Tuesday, let's take a look at some of the major storylines - in no particular order - set to develop through the next six-plus weeks...

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 (Jennifer Buchanan)
(Jennifer Buchanan)

The Cubs have signed RHP Yu Darvish to a six-year deal worth $126 million, that could rise to $150 million with incentives, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. 

Pitching with the Rangers and Dodgers last season, Darvish went 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts, recording 209 strikeouts in 186 2/3 innings.

Darvish, 31, was a target for the Yankees if only they could clear enough cap space to sign him and stay under the luxury tax. The Yankees currently have about $15 million to spend to stay under the threshold and couldn't find any takers for Jacoby Ellsbury's contract. 

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New York Yankees' Aaron Hicks reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip/AP)
New York Yankees' Aaron Hicks reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip/AP)

After adding NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees outfield is stocked with talent. While sharing a locker room with Stanton, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks wants to be the team's starting center fielder and believes he can help the team win.

Ahead of spring training, Hicks is penciled in to start the majority of games in center. Last season he won the starting job away from Ellsbury and it's expected that Stanton and Judge will rotate between right field and DH, though one can play in left with Gardner in center. 

"I want to be the starting center fielder for the Yankees, of course," Hicks said, via Dan Martin of NY Post. "I feel that's the position I can play every day and be successful and help this team win..."

Tags: Aaron Hicks
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Feb 25, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres (81) doubles during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 25, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres (81) doubles during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

As the Yankees get ready to compete down in Tampa, GM Brian Cashman is excited to see how the infield competition shakes out. 

Cashman joins the Yankees fan base in being curious about how New York's top prospects will pan out as they fight for Opening Day roster spots. He won't rule out making more moves in free agency to bring in a veteran infielder, but for now, the spotlight will stay on the group the Yankees have now.

"We've got a competition lined up to see where it takes us," Cashman told NY Daily News' Christian Red. "Obviously, if anything changes between now and Opening Day, and makes enough sense, we'll evaluate it."

Tags: Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Ronald Torreyes
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

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

As the Yankees have fully embraced the youth movement, it should be no shock that the club will rely on rookies in its effort to return to the postseason. We'll cover five rookies -- including a couple of sleepers -- that may make significant impacts for the Yankees this season.

Tags: 2018 Yankees Expectations, Chance Adams, Chase Headley, Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Austin, Chris Carelli
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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)

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson opened up about why he wanted to join the Yankees, saying he was able to fulfill a promise to his father in doing so.

"The reason this is so special to me," Wilson told The MMQB's Peter King, "is that I used to always tell my dad I always wanted to be a Yankee. I said to him, 'Some day, Dad, I will be a Yankee.' And so now that dream has come true -- a little bit. My main, No. 1 focus is winning Super Bowls and winning football games. But the reality is that baseball has always been a major part of my life, and I couldn't be happier to be keeping that alive with the Yankees."

Tags: Seattle Seahawks
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Aaron Boone, manager of the New York Yankees, talks with members of the media at the MLB baseball winter meetings Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux/AP)
Aaron Boone, manager of the New York Yankees, talks with members of the media at the MLB baseball winter meetings Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux/AP)

Before the Yankees came calling, Aaron Boone had another MLB job lined up. Not in the dugout, but in the front office. 

Boone was ready to leave ESPN and Sunday Night Baseball to get back into the game. He interviewed with an unnamed franchise between games 5 and 6 of the World Series. 

"I was really planning to make the transition into the game," Boone said, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "Whether that role led to coaching, managing or a significant front-office role. I was just kind of letting it play out."

The first time manager can't wait to get started with the Yankees and is excited by the team's potential...

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New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird on deck to bat during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird on deck to bat during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

For Greg Bird, 2017 was supposed to be his breakout year. After a phenomenal spring training it looked like he was even better than advertized.

But he began the season in a slump before going down with an injury that'd keep him out until August. Once he did return and worked off the rust, Bird delivered what many expected of him. Now, ahead of 2018, he's desperate to show everyone what he can do over a full season. 

"I think people saw it, but I want to do it for a full season, I've got to do it for a full season," Bird said, via Erik Boland of Newsday. "That's what it's all about. I'm not going to lie, I'm anxious to show it, I want to. It's what I've wanted to do..."

Tags: Greg Bird
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Yankee plan for crowded outfield 00:04:43
The BNNY crew looks at the Yankees' plans for left field and DH with lots of options to choose from on the crowded roster.

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Yankees have many tasks to complete down in Tampa before the season starts, and maybe none takes precedent over how to split time with the dynamic duo of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

The idea to rotate them behind right field and designated hitter isn't a simple solution as the Yankees would like to get them more playing time in the field. That is why new first-base coach and outfield instructor Reggie Willits will work with both players in left field to see if that would be an option new manager Aaron Boone could use. 

"It's going to be exciting," Willits told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "Everybody asks that question like it's a problem. It's not a problme at all. It's a pretty big blessing."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez
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