Pitchers and Catchers officially report tomorrow, but the Yankees Spring Training facility in Tampa has already been bustling with activity for a while now.
There shouldn't be any surprises here. The Yankee roster is all but set. This is more about some the veterans getting healthy for the season. CC, Jeter, Rivera all coming off of surgeries, all should have slow spring trainings, but be ready for opening day.
I'm more interested in seeing the Yankee top prospects. Mason Williams is not in Major League camp because he's coming off of shoulder surgery (non-throwing shoulder) and will most likely be starting the season in Tampa. But guys like Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez and Slade Heathcott need to impress now, if they want a shot at making the big club later in the season. None of these guys have legitimate shot at breaking camp in the Bronx but make the good impression now and it will pay off later. I also want to see David Adams. If this guy has an impressive spring training, it may lead to Nunez being traded.
Other Spring Training interests:
Starting Catcher: Girardi and Cashman have all but said the starting job is Cervelli's to lose. If Romine has a real good spring can he make the club? Does Cervelli's PED connection play a part in this, if he gets suspended for 50 it sure does...we may not see Cervelli ever again in pinstripes.
Starting OF: A lot of talk has been going on about Gardner moving full time to CF. This was the hot topic 3 years ago when the Yankees made the trade for Granderson, but with the injury to Gardner last year we didn't hear it. Now Cashman and Girardi are seriously considering switching Gardner to CF and Granderson to LF. This is the best move defensively for the team and should have been that way from day 1.
Bullpen: I have no doubt Rivera will be back to the normal Rivera. He will be one of the elite closers this year. The Yankees did lose Soriano, and while I think that is a good thing, you can't argue it was a big time arm in the pen. Can Aardsma bounce back and have a big impact on the bullpen? He was once a big time closer, if he can fill the 7th or 8th inning the Yankees can have the best bullpen in the AL when you have Logan, Joba, Robertson, Aardsma, and Rivera.
Rotation: There isn't a real question here. I would be shocked if it isn't CC, Kuroda, Pettitte, Hughes, and Nova. The only question is can Phelps challenge Nova for the #5 spot. I'm guessing no. Phelps would have to be unbelievable...which could happen...and Nova would have to be terrible...which I guess could happen. But short of injury, I think Girardi will put Nova in the #5 spot to start the season. If Nova struggles in April then Phelps gets the call.