Thursday, February 4, 2016

Things to Watch Before Pitchers & Catchers Report Day

The New York Yankees will watch as their pitchers and catchers report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on February 18th which a few new faces in the fold. The Yankees did nothing to change or improve their starting rotation, whether they needed to or not is still up for debate, but the bullpen will have a new look with former Yankees prospect Adam Warren and former Pittsburgh Pirates lefty Justin Wilson gone from last year’s team. In their places are about 15-20 Yankees prospects and a man named Aroldis Chapman which is just one of the many story lines facing this team as Spring Training workouts and such officially begin in about two weeks. 

Masahiro Tanaka enters spring training camp with question marks about his elbow, again, after having bone spurs removed from it in a surgery this winter. Tanaka’s surgery was as routine as they come and he should be fine but that will not stop the masses from harping on every single pitch he throws, every walk he surrenders and every earned run, as few and far between as they are, he gives up. A good friend once told me this, and you should keep this in mind if you are one of these people, doubters are not doctors and doctors told Tanaka he didn’t need Tommy John surgery back in 2014. They also told him he didn’t need Tommy John surgery in 2015. Leave him alone in 2016, please? 

Probably overshadowing Tanaka and his elbow though will be Aroldis Chapman who may face a suspension from a domestic violence incident last October. After coming over from the Cincinnati Reds this winter the Yankees new closer may face a suspension that will have a great bearing not only on the 2015 season but the 2016 season as well. Remember, if Chapman is suspended for more than 45 days (not games) he will be ineligible for free agency after the 2016 season. 

I don’t consider Nathan Eovaldi to be a question mark heading into this season but some do so I felt compelled to at least mention him here in this post. Eovaldi was going to be added to the postseason roster for the ALDS if the Yankees had beaten the Houston Astros this past season. The Yankees baby their pitchers and if he wasn’t healthy the Yankees wouldn’t have made the move or announced that the move was coming. He was ready in October so I have no reason to believe that he won’t be ready in February, March or April of 2016. 

One Yankees pitcher I do feel will be a question mark all season long though is CC Sabathia. How is the knee, how is pitching with the knee brace and how is sobriety treating you? All questions we will see answered in the coming months. Stay tuned. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)