Players are starting to trickle into the Yankees complex in Tampa, and it’s less than a week until pitchers and catchers are due to report to begin the 2019 season. There’s a few assorted notes floating around as we transition out of Hot Stove season and into Spring Training:
Adams Looking to Regain Lost VelocityEmbed from Getty Images
The Chance Adams we saw in the 2018 season is not the guy who surged up various top prospect lists after being converted to a starter in the minor leagues.
The 24-year-old is still working to regain the velocity he lost after having surgery after the 2017 season to remove bone chips from his right elbow. While Adams would not directly blame his 2018 struggles on a velocity drop, it’s not unreasonable to say that would be the cause.
“They said it usually takes a season and a half or so for full recovery. It is a simple surgery, but the bone has to heal. They went in and literally took off part of the bone. I hope that’s the reason [for the diminished velocity]. I like throwing hard. It’s fun.”Chance Adams, via the New York Post‘s Greg Joyce
Adams saw his ERA shoot up from 2.45 in 2017 to 4.78 in 2018, and he looks to get back to his form with the help of some extra juice on his fastball.
Andújar Never Worked at First Base in OffseasonEmbed from Getty Images
The knocks on Miguel Andújar have always been related to his defense. His -25 defensive runs saved at third base were the worst for any qualified third baseman in all of baseball. But, the Yankees are betting on the 23-year-old’s stellar work ethic to improve his defense. To that end, the team never asked him to workout at first base in the offseason and they remain focused on improving his defense at the hot corner.
Boone Throws Water on Judge’s Harper CommentsEmbed from Getty Images
“Wherever he wants to play, we’ll make it work,” Judge told TMZ. “Anytime you can add an MVP to a team, it’s going to make it better.”
Manager Aaron Boone tried to temper any Yankees fans expectations, alluding to the outfielders currently on the Yankees roster.
“I think that was Judgie having some fun at the Super Bowl,” Boone said. “Judgie would do a lot of things for the team. … He was probably pressed in the corner at the Super Bowl and he gave a good answer.”
It’s Zack, not ZachEmbed from Getty Images
Yankees reliever Zack Britton has cleared the record on how his first name is actually spelled. It’s with a “k” at the end, and not an “h”. His legal name is Zackary, but he always went by Zach apparently. Not sure how it took until 2019, when he’s 31, to make the correction, but it is what it is. Make sure to use Zack from this point forward.
Frazier Really Wants the Left Field JobEmbed from Getty Images
There is nothing Clint Frazier wants more than to unseat Brett Gardner as the Yankees starting left fielder in 2019. Despite appearing in just 69 games in 2018 because of concussion-related issues, the 24-year-old is confident in his health and his ability to force the issue in Spring Training.
“I’ve got to go out there and prove to the guys that I’m healthy, and show that the guy that’s been there for the last 10-plus years is someone that I can compete with. I want to show that I want to take his spot, whenever the time comes. All respect to Gardy in the world, I love the guy to death, and I can say that with a smile on my face because I genuinely mean that. I’m trying to make sure that the way that I’m going about this goal of mine is in a respectful way to him and everybody else as well. I think this is the best chance I’ve had since my pro career started.”Clint Frazier, via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch
Frazier made his Yankees debut in 2017, slashing .231/.268/.448 (82 wRC+) in a 39-game cameo before he was felled by a left oblique strain. He seems ticketed to begin the season in Triple-A, if only to recoup the at-bats he missed because of his concussions from last year. If he hits and stays healthy, he could easily find himself starting in left field given the current roster construction.
Gregorius Begins Hitting, ThrowingEmbed from Getty Images
Didi Gregorius has hit the ground running with this rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Aaron Boone said on WFAN that he would begin his throwing program soon, and Bryan Hoch of MLB.com tweeted that the shortstop hit in the cage one-handed Thursday.
“But we all know that’s not going to happen, but that’s what I want to do. It’s a wait-and-see until everything is cleared, everything is ready to go and that’s when they will let me play,” Gregorius said.