Why Full-Squad Workouts at Spring Training Are More of a Challenge Than Ever Before

Yankees manager Aaron Boone always addresses the entire team on the first day of full-squad workouts with one speech. That wasn't the case this year due to this logistical hurdle
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Each spring, the first full-squad workout at Yankees camp is a momentous occasion for manager Aaron Boone.

It's his first opportunity after a long offseason to address the entire team under one roof, walking through his expectations for spring training and the season as a whole. 

That wasn't the case on Tuesday as New York's roster was split up at two separate facilities for the first day of workouts due to the pandemic. While position players took batting practice and practiced defense at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the pitchers and catchers were across the street at New York's Player Development Complex. 

"When we're all together, I'll give the pitchers and catchers kind of a short speech on the first day and then address the whole club the first full day of workouts," Boone explained in a Zoom call with reporters. "Well, I've had to obviously separate that out a little bit. I gave a couple to pitchers and catchers and then gave another one here for these guys so a little bit different."

Not only does the division of camp force Boone to give the same speech twice, it presents the skipper with a logistical challenge. 

Just because New York's roster is split between two facilities doesn't mean the workouts are staggered. As Boone experienced firsthand on Tuesday, it's impossible for him to see everything going on while drills are happening simultaneously at both venues. 

"One of the challenges of spring training is always trying to prioritize the things that I want to make sure I see and touch, be in as many places I possibly can and that's obviously been one of the bigger challenges with having two places. It's a little bit back and forth," Boone explained.

Luckily for Boone, Tuesday was a light day on the pitchers and catchers side. In the coming days, however, the skipper (and the media, for that matter) will need to make the tough choice between watching position players hitting at one park or live batting practice and bullpens at another.

Yankees' ace Gerrit Cole called the whole situation "a bummer" on Tuesday, saying he hasn't had a chance to see many of his teammates in person yet. 

"My next live [BP] is over there," Cole said. "So maybe I'll just get over a little early and try to jump in some dudes heads or something."

As time passes, and roster cuts are made, everyone can convene at Steinbrenner Field, but team bonding activities (like last year's ping pong tournament, for instance) aren't feasible at the moment.

That said, Boone was pleased with how the first full-squad workout transpired. Brett Gardner officially returned in pinstripes, Domingo Germán took a "big step" by speaking to his teammates about his suspension and most importantly, everyone got their work in. 

"It was a busy day. Our coaches and our staff were very busy. But all in all I thought it was a good first full day where everyone. I feel like we had a productive day of work."

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