Can Yankees March on?
The Yankees are an MLB-best 18-6 in spring training games this year, and while that record doesn’t necessarily indicate success in the regular season, it has definitely served as a confidence booster.
“I think it’s important,” Joe Girardi told reporters recently. “I think a winning culture is important with some of the younger guys. And one of the reasons we’re winning games is our younger guys who come in are really talented.”
Brian Cashman told reporters last week that the Yankees’ spring training record “doesn’t mean anything,” before adding, “it probably has more meaning to our franchise right now to continue to sell the direction we’re going. Continue to convert people into believing that this has a chance to be better sooner than later.”
Cashman later added, “The kids start to … compete against players that they see on TV at the big-league level and they’re realizing, ‘Hey, you know what? Maybe I can compete with these guys. Maybe I’m not so far off.’”
Stock’s getting low on Mateo
Jorge Mateo, once the Yankees’ top prospect, was demoted to minor-league camp after hitting just .136 in 22 at-bats this spring. Mateo, a natural shortstop that took reps at second base this month, is now the third-rated player at his position in the organization behind Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade. He will see some reps in center field going forward, per Joe Girardi.
“I still really like him in the infield,” Girardi told reporters. “[But] what’s the quickest way to get him here? A spot could open up one day other than a spot you’re used to playing and if you can play different places, it might get you here quicker.”
Bruce hurts hip
Jay Bruce, seen as the emergency first baseman on the Mets’ roster, had to be scratched from Sunday’s game against the Marlins due to tightness in his right hip.
“I think it has to do with taking ground balls at first base, being in a different position, having your hips so engaged, the hip flexor just flared up a little bit,” Bruce told reporters. “It was fine. It’s not anything alarming for sure, just one of those ‘nip it in the bud,’ situations.”
Terry Collins told the Daily News he expects Bruce to be back on Wednesday and to play six of the team’s eight remaining games.
Wilmer Flores wasn’t thrilled with not playing every day last year, and with his likely being a bench player again in 2017, his frustration is leaking out.
“It’s gonna be hard if you don’t play for three days and you got to go out there and do your thing,” Flores told reporters recently. “The only thing I can do is keep working and be ready every day for whatever they ask.”
Collins was unsympathetic toward Flores when asked to address the situation by the press.
“We’ve got so many left-handed hitters; they are going to play against [righties],” Collins said. “[Flores will] play a lot of positions and face left-handed pitching. First, second, short and third. That’s what he is; the utility infielder.”
Flores says he’s comfortable against righties as well as lefties, but last year’s stats belie that. Flores batted .340 against lefties but just .232 against righties in 2016.