It's no surprise seeing Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks shagging during defensive drills at Yankees camp. After last season, however, spotting Giancarlo Stanton on the outfield grass tracking down fly balls is an unusual site.
Stanton didn't play outfield for a single pitch last year, spending the entirety of the shortened campaign—when he wasn't on the injured list—at designated hitter. Yankees manager Aaron Boone hinted at Stanton returning to the outfield in 2021 earlier in the week and the slugger isn't opposed to the idea.
"That'll be a good ongoing discussion through spring," Stanton said in a Zoom call on Wednesday. "Get me out there, get me going in order to be out there during the season as much as the team needs."
From right to left, Judge, Hicks and Frazier are set to be New York's starting outfielders once the regular season begins. Brett Gardner will help provide some depth in the outfield—after he was re-signed by the club—while the likes of Mike Tauchman, Miguel Andújar and non-roster invitee Jay Bruce compete for playing time.
If Stanton is healthy enough to play in the outfield this year, it opens the door for Boone to be creative when filling in his lineup card. Otherwise, Stanton will be relegated to designated hitter. That's not necessarily the end of the world for the Bombers, as his bat is invaluable to this dangerous lineup, but that would make it a challenge to give other position players rest with Stanton penciled in at DH.
A "crisp" Taillon finishes strong
Jameson Taillon was among the pitchers that threw live batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday. While he started slow, walking Aaron Judge and allowing Gleyber Torres to punch a base hit down the right-field line, Boone was excited about the way the right-hander finished.
"I thought his stuff as he got going on got really crisp," Boone said. "Jamo seeing Judge and Hicks and Frazier, guys that obviously really control and know the strike zone, he got an early look here in February that against those guys you really got to execute and I thought it was another good step."
Taillon finished his short outing with a strikeout of Hicks after a lengthy at-bat.
King of the hill
Other than Taillon, Deivi García, Chad Green and Asher Wojciechowski were among the pitchers that took the mound at Steinbrenner Field. It was right-hander Michael King, however, that stole the show.
By my count, King struck out four of the eight hitter he faced across two innings of work. Other than a bloop single from Frazier (the first batter he faced) and a routine fly ball off the bat of Hicks, the baseball didn't leave the infield.
King spoke earlier this week about changing his offseason approach, throwing more live batting practice during the winter against players like Judge that arrived at New York's facility in Tampa prior to spring training.
King has a shot at earning a spot in the Yankees' starting rotation if he can continue to take strides this spring. Otherwise, he'll provide Boone with another solid reliever with length out of the bullpen that can eat up innings and make a spot start when necessary.
Back in the swing of things
After his elbow surgery this offseason, third baseman Gio Urshela has slowly gotten closer to being ready for in-game action. He said on Wednesday that he's hoping to play in exhibition games as soon as next week.
Urshela's spring training debut, however, will depend on how this next step goes in the coming days.
"I'm close to 100 percent. I'll start swinging in live BP in the next couple days," Urshela said on Wednesday. "Let's see how it feels when I hit in live BP. After that,let's see what happened."
As for how his arm looks at the hot corner, see for yourself...
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