Yankees’ Pitchers and Catchers Report
How will Mariano Rivera do after his ACL rehab? Credit: Anc516
You probably haven’t even gotten around to throwing out that guac from Super Bowl, but if your refrigerator has a weird smell to it and if the stuff has turned hunter green, it’s time to move on. That no-longer-edible guac symbolizes something. Football is over. Baseball is coming.
Yankees’ pitchers and catchers have reported to camp in Tampa, Florida today and the first work out is set for tomorrow–Wednesday, February 13th. Exactly ten days after the final whistle blew on the final NFL game. For New York and New Jersey though, the football season ended in Week 17 with a Giants shellacking of the Eagles and a Jets loss to the Buffalo Bills. Fans of both teams cannot wait to forget the heartbreak of football 2012 and what better way to do that than a fresh start in 2013.
The pitchers and catchers reporting is only the first step in a long line of events leading up to opening day on Monday, April 1st against the Red Sox, but even this day is not lacking in story-lines. I run down a couple to look out for below.
- The Final Spot- The top of the pitching rotation is pretty much set with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and Hiroki Kuroda in a similar or slightly different order. That leaves the fifth spot open for competition between 2nd year man David Phelps who went 4-4 last year pitching and 0-1 in the postseason and Ivan Nova who went 12-8 last year with a postseason record of 1-1.
- Who else will make the cut?- With over 40 roster/non-roster pitchers reporting, which ones will make the cut for the 40-man roster is a giant question hovering over the heads of fans and managers alike. The starters are more or less locked, but the relief staff and the specialty pitchers they bring in to pitch to left-handed batters or bridge the 7th or 8th innings for the closer are big question marks. Which brings me to my next point…
- EVERYONE will be watching Mariano- And why wouldn’t they be? The story lines surrounding the Yankee living-legend are greater than those surrounding the entire Houston Astros squad. Rivera is coming off of a major, season-ending ACL tear, he is 43 years old, and he decided against retiring last year so who knows if this will be his last ride or if he will even make it through that ride. Smash the stories of Adrian Peterson and Ray Lewis together and place it on the roster of the most popular franchise in the world and yeah you might have some interesting news there.
- Filling Martin’s Shoes- Russell Martin is now a Pirate, so who is next up? Francisco Cervelli most likely had the job on lock until his name became linked to a PED scandal. Chris Stewart remains in New York after coming over from San Francisco in 2011 and Austin Romine who played in 2011, but not at all in 2012 rounds out the third roster option. The Yankees also brought in 5 non-roster catchers to compete.
As the Yankees get underway in sunny Florida, the best story line is perhaps that warmth is finally coming back to the tri-state area in just a few short months. It’s hard to say that with a straight face with all the snow still on the ground and frost gathering on the windshield of my car yet again, but it is true. With baseball comes warm weather and we all can be thankful for that.