First, happy 3rd anniversary to this blog and my amazing faithful readers! It’s been quite a ride, and we’re at the start of another season. I think I’ve subconsciously made the decision that this blog will last at least until the Yankees win that #28 or I get some big book deal to write about the greatness that is the Yankees. So fingers crossed!
It’s hard to believe that Spring is right around the corner, but every day, I’m looking at updates from players, executives, journalists, and random trivia facts that tell me it really is almost Spring Training time. I’m counting the days until I see pictures from those poor sports reporters who have to stake out the minor league complex in hopes of getting a random interview with a player. Players like Severino, Hicks, Refsnyder, Pineda, Miller, Gamel, Eovaldi, Judge, Mitchell, Kaprielian, and Rodriguez have all been spotted at the Tampa complex, enjoying the rollercoaster that is Spring in Florida — over 80° one day, then suddenly 60-something the next. (To be perfectly honest, I’m certainly enjoying the 60-something days, so everyone else needs to just chill out from “complaining” and be glad it’s not the near foot of snow my friends and family in New England just got last night.)
Anyway, speaking of Spring Training, the Yankees officially released their list of Spring Training invitees: pitchers Richard Bleier, Tyler Cloyd, Domingo German, Chad Green, James Kaprielian, Brady Lail, Diego Moreno, Vinnie Pestano, Anthony Swarzak, and Tyler Webb; catchers Carlos Corporan, Francisco Diaz, Kyle Higashioka, Santiago Nessy, Eddy Rodriguez, and Sebastian Valle; infielders Jonathan Diaz, Pete Kozma, Jorge Mateo, Deibinson Romero, Donovan Solano, and Tyler Wade; and outfielders Dustin Fowler, Aaron Judge, and Cesar Puello. If Higashioka, Moreno, and Rodriguez sound familiar, it’s because they were part of the Yankees organization in 2015 and are now back this season with new minor league contracts.
So that makes the total invitees to 25 (10 pitchers, 6 catchers, 6 infielders, 3 outfielders), and combined with the 40-man roster, the number of uniformed Yankees come March 2 (Spring Training’s Opening Day) is 65. Pitchers and catchers report in 13 days (Feb. 18), with the full team reporting less than a week later (Feb. 24).
And one player who will be out for Spring Training and for the entire 2016 season is Greg Bird. With a healthy Teixeira, the Yankees were assuming Bird would spend this season mostly in Scranton, which seemed like such a demotion after a rather stellar season as Teixiera’s surprising understudy this last year. But an escalated shoulder injury solved the “Bird problem”. An injury in May (sustained while he was with AA Trenton) reappeared and worsened with pre-season workouts, causing Bird to visit several team doctors. They collectively decided that a right shoulder labrum tear need to be surgically repaired this past Wednesday.
The hopeful 23 year old infielder posted to social media (having recently joined Twitter and Instagram in the off-season) from his hospital bed post-surgery on Wednesday. He will have regular surgery recovery time, followed by regular rehab before he even begins a baseball rehab program. He is expected to be out the entire 2016 season, though I expect his name to surface later this year with updates on his progress and a positive outlook for 2017.
But that’s still awhile off… 13 days to the start of the season, 26 days until Spring’s Opening Day at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, and 60 days until 2016 Opening Day in Yankee Stadium. (Spring tickets on sale now, but regular season tickets go on sale February 22.)