It’s officially Spring Training time now: there are tons of videos of the Yankees taking batting practice. Very exciting! It was also another day of Yankees being asked about the sign-stealing controversy. Aaron Judge –unfortunately more on him in a minute – had a lot to say about it. I know I said literally yesterday that I was sick of this exact thing, but it turns out that I was wrong. That’s probably because Judge really did not hold back. Here is some video of Judge saying that the Astros “didn’t earn” their 2017 World Series title:
He also admitted to deleting an Instagram post congratulating José Altuve for winning the 2017 AL MVP (which Judge deserved, cheating or no cheating):
All it took was one offseason for the MLB to turn into the NBA. Pretty wild stuff. (Rob Manfred also addressed the media today in a prescheduled press conference, which went about as well as you would expect it to go.) Onto the news.
Today’s Big Story: Aaron Judge’s Injury
The 2019 season is dead; long live the 2019 season. It is the first real day of camp with the full team in Tampa. Of course, that means only one thing: vague injuries! This time, it’s to Aaron Judge, because of course it is. His right shoulder is “cranky”, per Aaron Boone. Here’s the official quote with some context:
That cranky shoulder, whatever that means, kept Judge out of the cage today. It also as prevented him from throwing. (He did participate in other drills, just as he has for the last few weeks.) Lindsey Adler says that the injury has partially sidelined Judge for a week or so:
Immediate reaction: this sucks and I do not like it. Still, though everyone needs to take a deep breath. Look, I know that last year was scarring in a lot of ways – vague injuries kept piling on and turned into months away from the field – but there’s no evidence of this happening yet with Judge. He’s had an MRI, he’s still active, and the team says it’s not a big deal. Again: I understand how this went last year, but still. They’re probably just being extremely cautious with the best player on their team. That’s exactly how this should go.
Plus, for all of the nebulous injuries that snowballed last year, there were also the vague ones that didn’t. The one that comes to mind is Gleyber’s weird core injury that kept him off the field but not on the IL. It went away, it wasn’t a big deal, and he had a huge postseason. Anyway, Judge will miss the first Grapefruit League games. Not the end of the world. Let’s check back in on this in a week or so before freaking out, okay? (Laughs nervously.)
- J.A. Happ will start the first Grapefruit League game on February 22 against Toronto. (Bryan Hoch) While Boone only said that Gerrit Cole will start a “few days later”, Cole told Jack Curry that he’ll make his debut on February 24 against his former employer Pittsburgh. That lines him up to open the season in Baltimore, in case that news surprises you at all.
- Batting practice! Miguel Andújar (Brendan Kuty), DJ LeMahieu (Erik Boland), Giancarlo Stanton (Brendan Kuty), Luke Voit (Erik Boland) and prospects like Chris Gittens (NYY Player Development) all hit the cages today. Others probably did, too. It’s nice to hear the crack of the bat again, isn’t it?
- Miguel Andújar, who will be fighting for playing time to start the season, took some reps in the outfield today alongside Giancarlo Stanton. Here’s the video, courtesy of Pete Caldera:
- In other Aaron Judge news, he spoke with Jack Curry about the lasting impact that John Altobelli, Judge’s Cape Cod League coach when he was with the Brewster Whitecaps in 2012, had on him. Altobelli and his family died in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant a few weeks ago. Judge relayed a nice story about how Altobelli came to see him play in his rookie season with the Yanks in 2017. Definitely check this one out.
- Is this a swan song for Brett Gardner? He was overheard saying that he’s going to “go out in nine months on top”, but there’s no indication if he was being serious or not. I suspect he was, for what it’s worth. (AJ Herrmann)
- Remember how Andy Pettitte played a big role in the recruitment of Gerrit Cole? Here is a neat photo of them together in camp, ironically with Cole doing the teaching:
- Robert Pimpsner of the Pinstriped Prospects took a look at the whole farm system heading into the start of Grapefruit League action. It is behind a paywall, but you should be supporting those guys over there. Robert is good people and they provide in-depth coverage of the Yankees MiLB system that you can’t really get anywhere else.
- Finally, DJ LeMahieu scolded the Astros like they are one of his kids, saying that he is “not mad, but disappointed” with them. Sending chills down the spines of sons everywhere.
So, that’s that from today’s Yankee camp. We’ll be back tomorrow with the latest. Have a good night, everyone. We’re another day closer to a real Yankee game.