Spring Training News & Notes: Gary Battles The Flu, Monty Remains Sharp, Injury Updates

We’ve hit the doldrums of Yankees spring training. We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not yet close enough to feel its warmth. The pitchers continue to prepare for the season and the position players continue to get their reps in. The injuries have settled some potential position battles so the main focus is keeping the roster as healthy as possible heading into Opening Day. To that end, let’s jump into today’s news and notes.

Gary Sánchez Diagnosed With The Flu

Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez has missed the last few days of spring training with lower back issues. He was scheduled to resume batting practice activities this morning. Sánchez wasn’t seen with his assigned group during batting practice. It was announced later on that Sánchez was sent home with a “little fever.”

With the coronavirus global pandemic, there was immediate concern that Gary contracted the illness. After the game, the Yankees provided this update:

The Yankees avert a serious crisis for now. Can you imagine what would happen if a player contracted coronavirus? It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for that team to immediately halt their spring training camp. MLB has removed media from team locker rooms in a controversial step to curtail close interaction with the players. The flu isn’t a pleasant experience, but at least there are measures to treat it compared to the coronavirus.

To that end, Yankees players and personnel have met with the team doctor to address COVID-19. Zack Britton told reporters that the team has been in contact with the company in charge of their air travel to ensure their charter plane is properly sanitized. Britton, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gerrit Cole all agreed that precautions were necessary to help curtail the spread of the virus.

This is a problem that MLB will have to address in the immediate future. Multiple sporting events have been canceled, postponed or played in front of empty arenas. With Opening Day a couple weeks away, MLB is closing in on a potentially dangerous scenario. There is also the very real possibility of a player contracting the virus. We’ll be reading about this in the coming days. Hopefully, there were won’t be any significant bad news moving forward.

Jordan Montgomery Continues To Impress

Amidst all of the injury news, Jordan Montgomery is posting an impressive camp. We’ve covered the uptick in velocity, but today’s relief outing also showcased efficiency with a couple three up and three down innings. Yankees manager Aaron Boone is really happy with the tall lefty:

Been really excited from the git-go with him. Bullpens, to the uptick in velocity . . . He did a lot of things really good. The curveball was good. The changeup was really good. You saw even a couple of the at-bats where he was behind in the count, just not real comfortable swings even on his fastball, and he finished off the outing with that cutter on his last strikeout. There’s a lot there to be excited about.

Aaron Boone Courtesy of Anthony Reiber

Monty had a line of 4IP, 0H, 0BB, 0ER, 5Ks. He was effective in and around the zone all afternoon. Here is one example:

Montgomery is a crucial piece for the Yankees rotation. There should be a high level of confidence in Cole and Tanaka. J.A. Happ’s spring offers encouragement, but we need to see it translate into the season. The fifth rotation spot is going to an unproven young pitcher or an opener. The Yankees need a consistent and stable Jordan Montgomery. It will make a world of difference in navigating through the early part of the season. Montgomery entered this season as an interesting option for the team. Now, the Yankees will rely upon him to immediately deliver. His spring is very encouraging.

Finally Some Positive Injury Updates

The Yankees gave positive updates on two players currently out of action. James Paxton, who underwent back surgery last month, will play catch tomorrow. This is a relatively minor step forward, but a necessary one. The team has been hopeful that Paxton would return on the shorter end of his timeline. Obviously, the sooner he can get on the mound the better. The rotation certainly needs him.

Giancarlo Stanton will begin running outside shortly. Here is an update from the man himself courtesy of Bryan Hoch:

Stanton is already resuming baseball activities. That is a great sign. The team didn’t announce any timeline for a return, but once Giancarlo begins running on the field a return to games shouldn’t be too far behind. The lineup depth is facing a real test early on. A Stanton return in early April would be a huge boost. Of course, we have to take these things one step at a time given the neverending injury bug. This recent Stanton news is a good sign though.

Leftovers

  • Gerrit Cole returned to his normal dominant self. He finished his start today with a line of 3 1/3IP, 2H, 1ER, 0BB, 6K, 1WP. Ho hum.
  • Aaron Boone told the media that both Miguel Andújar and Clint Frazier will each get work in left and right field in the next few games.
  • We launched the first episode of The Views From 314FT Podcast this morning. Bobby, Derek and I discussed all the injuries and potential roster machinations. Please give it a listen and share it with your networks. The podcast will be available on all podcast platforms once the approval process is complete.

Have a great night everyone!

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7 Comments

  1. dasit

    don’t be surprised if mlb has to delay the start of the season or play the games in empty stadiums

  2. While I was wrong about not panicking about Sevy, I’m still in “deny Spring Training hype” mode in every aspect that I can be.

    The Yankees are far from the only team experiencing the traditional ST rash of “getting into gear” injuries (Stanton, Sanchez,) and they actually seem less troubled by these things than many other competitive teams.

    While the unnoticed injuries from last season are troubling, they did completely revamp their training and conditioning staff in the offseason, and I expect better things going forward. They obviously saw this as a major area of need and addressed it.

    I get that “2019 is dead, long live 2019” is now a cliche here, but I think it’s a bit unfair, and I hope that we are able to get past it in the wake of excitement created by seeing how diverse and deep the current team is. 2019 was an historic injury and resilience year for the Yankees and history of baseball, and I think moaning and groaning about it, reliving it and expecting the same this year, in any way, completely ignores how incomparable the 2019 Yankees were in the history of professional baseball.

    You think repeating a WS win is tough? Try injuring 30 players 39 times and getting within sneezing distance of the pennant, (against a bunch of cheating assholes,) then get back to me.

    2019 is something we should be CELEBRATING, not bemoaning.

    What’s the use to fans if Spring Training is only about established guys going out and getting into gear, without position battles and seeing NRI’s and prospects alongside their MLB competition getting serious consideration? Sounds boring as hell to me.

    The big news of the day is that Gary has the flu and Happ is mechanically straighter to the plate in his mechanics? Yawn.

    • Randy

      I’m not sure I’m following this. No one is bemoaning 2019. We were very clear in our love for the 2019 season while it was happening. With that said, the Severino, Judge and Paxton injuries are significant. They exist. They are impactful. There is a possibility that Aaron Judge doesn’t play this year. We can’t outright dismiss these occurrences. It would be foolish to do so. We loved 2019. We have high expectations for 2020. We expect great things. That doesn’t mean we skirt our responsibility to discuss and analyze the news of the spring.

      • You very clearly ARE bemoaning 2019’s injuries and expecting them to continue every time the main writers go the “2019 is dead, long live 2019” route.

        I came here because I know you are veterans of RAB and follow a similar format, but I think you’re suffering the same early RAB egotism disease that Mike clearly acknowledged abandoning by the time he changed his tune and eventually left us to our own devices.

        I want to support this place and make it a great place to talk about the best team in the world, but I’ll drop it the second it wastes my time, and the pervasive Schmidt fawning and cry-baby NY Post-style BS sh*t-stirring is done. It’s already old, when the blog is less than a year old.

        If you’re getting exposure on YES, it might be time to be less Post-worthy, and be happy you’re where you are. Appeal to bigger audiences.

        • MikeD

          Seems a bit over-the-top reaction wise, moser. Noting the continuing injury/diagnosis problem is fair because it’s not ending, at least yet.

          As for Clarke Schmidt, I posted my thoughts on this prior. They’ve talked about the pros, which makes sense and aren’t hard to see, but I don’t think they’ve done a complete assessment of the cons while looking at the bigger picture. The Yankees may decide Schmidt is the best option. Fine if they do, although 12 base runners in 7 Spring Training innings against low-level competition doesn’t scream break him from his development plan. I’m not even all that powerfully interested if he makes the team or not. Fine if they use Cessa or others as an opener for a few starts. I’m hoping Paxon is back by mid-May. And who knows, the MLB season may not even start until May!

      • It may not be you specifically, but the editorial direction might need some help.

        • Mill Rock

          I’d love to read your blog. What’s the link?

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