MLB Spring Training Notebook: 3/12/2018

  • According to Aaron Judge, the slugger is doubtful to defend his title in this year’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. this July. Judge said “One and done is good for me…I’m a Home Run Derby champion. It was a cool experience, and I enjoyed it all, but I don’t think I need to go out there and do it again. I’ve won it once”. When asked if his participation in the mid-summer classic event had an impact on his injured right shoulder, the California native responded that he “rather not say”. Judge became the first Yankee rookie to win the event and just the fourth member of the organization to be crowned champion. Only his newly-acquired teammate, Giancarlo Stanton, has hit more homers (61) in the history of the Derby.
  • Following Thursday’s loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, New York reassigned six players to minor league camp. The first roster cuts included pitchers Justus Sheffield, Dillon Tate, Cale Coshow, Raynel Espinal, Trevor Lane and catcher Chace Numata. The Yankees roster now stands at 56 players.
  • Giancarlo Stanton is feeling much better in left field, and he’s showing it. Following his third appearance at the position this spring on Thursday afternoon, he told reporters, “It’s getting better. I mean, you go from never (playing left field) to once and now twice, three times…It’s the same as getting at-bats. You need the dynamic of runners in scoring position, power hitters hitting it to you, slap hitters hitting it to you, you need all that experience. That’s what camp’s for”.
  • Manager Aaron Boone did not rule out Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) from being ready for the season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, March 29th. Boone further added that Ellsbury is progressing well and could resume running this week.
Yankees prospect Albert Abreu underwent appendix surgery on Wednesday. (Zachary Lucy/Four Seam Images via AP)
  • Per Boone, top prospects Albert Abreu (appendix) has begun a throwing program and is up to 90 feet, while Thairo Estrada (gunshot wound) has started throwing and running.
  • New York announced their second round of roster cuts on Friday, just a day following the first round. Thairo Estrada, Albert Abreu, and Jonathan Loaisiga were all reassigned across the street to the Himes Player Development and Scouting Complex, which is the home of the Yankees minor league camp.
  • Jordan Montgomery was officially named New York’s fifth starter on Friday afternoon. The announcement came from his manager before the Yankees evening game in Celebration, FL against the Atlanta Braves. In 29 starts during his rookie campaign, ‘Monty’ went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA.
  • For the third consecutive day, the Yankees trimmed their roster. This latest series of cuts occurred before their Saturday afternoon game against the New York Mets. Domingo Acevedo, who did not appear in a game, was optioned to Double-A Trenton while Brian Keller was re-assigned to minor league camp. The big-league roster now stands at 51 players.
Domingo Acevedo had thrown a career high 133 innings in 2017. (Martin Griff)
  • Domingo Acevedo told reporters the reason he hasn’t pitched yet in a live game is because he is currently building up arm strength after taking more time off this winter due to his significant 2017 workload. Between Trenton, Tampa (Single-A Advanced), and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Triple-A) the flamethrower tossed 133 combined innings. ‘Ace’ further added that he feels good and all is okay with his arm. The Dominican Republic native was placed on the disabled list on August 21, 2017, with right shoulder soreness and didn’t throw another inning for the rest of the season.
  • Brain Cashman, Larry Rothschild, Aaron Boone have made it a priority for Gary Sanchez and Sonny Gray to improve their communication and production while working together in 2018. Sanchez was benched twice in favor of Austin Romine in two postseason games by former Yankees manager Joe Girardi due to Sanchez’s previous inability to handle Gray. Sanchez has caught Gray in every situation where hitters are present along with most bullpen sessions. Gary told reporters “To me, it’s about being soft behind the plate…His pitches move a lot. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, stay soft and relaxed behind the plate, and adjust. He continued to add that he “put in a lot of work in the offseason back in the Dominican Republic and here (in Tampa) as well with my coaches…What I want to do is be more consistent blocking and receiving pitches. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, and that’s the focus moving forward.
  • Before Saturday’s afternoon showdown with the New York Mets, outfielder Brett Gardner recognized by the Taylor Hooton Foundation. The foundation has already educated more than one million young athletes about the dangers and adverse effects of performance-enhancing drugs. Friends and family members of Taylor Hooton, 17, created the venture following his death in 2004, which stemmed from the use of anabolic steroids. Gardner has been a charter member of the foundation’s advisory board of active Major League players since 2014.
  • Clint Frazier is still experiencing concussion symptoms more than two weeks after the injury occurred. Frazier has told reporters that he “has felt off” and “foggy.” He has had to stop driving and has had depth perception issues, near blackouts, and nausea in recent days.