The biggest news of today isn’t the 4-1 loss to the Phillies, but rather Derek Jeter being scratched from today’s lineup following batting practice. Recovery from any injury is always a rough road, so as it hits the inevitable bumps, we wish him quick and perfect health. Jeter is quick to remind everyone that the goal isn’t this Spring, but rather Opening Day in two weeks. And barring continuous stiffness or further injury, he should be ready to set-up camp between 2nd and 3rd bases come April 1st, greet Section 203 with his standard glove flap, and pirouette his way to that tight 6-4-3 double play.
Ichiro Suzuki continued settling into the Florida Spring Training momentum with a nice RBI double to knock in Brett Gardner. Having Gardner back full and healthy is also helping the team. With those two on base early, the power middle of the order with (eventually) Robinson Cano and Kevin Youkilis (and perhaps Granderson and Teixeira when they return from the DL) could easily see some higher scoring potential. Perhaps the power isn’t what needed to be replaced then, but rather it’s where you place the power. For example, loading the bases with Gardner, Jeter, and Suzuki could have great scoring potential when say Cano steps up and even just hits a double. Maybe the home run high-hitters are missing, but the possible runs scored is more alive than ever.
I have been playing with a potential line-up and roster for Opening Day. And while I won’t post it on here, as I feel it would require too much explanation, it’s something to think about. We are missing some key players, and while some analysts argue for one solution or another, we are going to see a varied field than one perhaps we are used to seeing in pinstripes. And isn’t that the point of a team any way — to evolve with the circumstances and time?
I guess we might all like to freeze one team or another for eternity to play the exact same way. Most long-time Yankees fans may talk about 1927’s Murderer’s Row or the 1951 season with DiMaggio’s exit and Mantle’s arrival or the superb 1961 team with the Mantle and Maris 61 home run competition. Or perhaps, more recent fans might prefer the 1996 or 1999 teams with the Core Four on top and Joe Torre at the helm. And while most baseball fans love to reminisce about the “way it used to be” (some Yankees fans can still be heard lamenting the old stadium), the basic fact is that time doesn’t stand still, and as it marches on, the faces on the field and names on the roster are going to change.
We have so many potential pinstripes in Spring Training this year that it gives me hope that with the changing of the guard over the next few short years, we have guys waiting on the farm to step up and fill in and find themselves a permanent home in the clubhouse. So as we see retirements and retired numbers collect over the next few years, let’s get excited for the good seasons we have yet to see come out of the Bronx, starting with this one.