The New York Yankees haven’t had the best news since the start of spring training. We all know about the Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira injuries by now. However, there is some good news for the Yankees lurking behind all of the doom and gloom.
Francisco Cervelli has looked good behind the plate. His offense is still not great but he has enough of a Major League track record to let you know what kind of offensive player he is. What he lacked heading into this season was defensive consistency. Now, however, Cervelli seems like a different catcher behind the plate. His throwing has been much improved so far this spring. Cervelli’s improved defense and potential offensive output should put him ahead of Chris Stewart in terms of playing time this season.
Joe Girardi was no great offensive player during his career. The Yankees still won championships with Girardi behind the dish. If Cervelli keeps making some improvements, keeps working on his defense there is no reason to think he couldn’t be a starting catcher on a World Series club.
Another positive for the Yankees this spring has been the healthy returns of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Both were huge question marks heading into spring training. Their bodies seem to be responding well to the extra work and both will be ready to start the season. The Yankees will need both if they hope to repeat as division champions. The question of whether they would be ready has been answered. Now comes the question of whether or not they can stay healthy through the entire season but that is a question the Yankees wouldn’t mind having right now because it means Jeter and Rivera are healthy now.
The Yankees lost Phil Hughes early on to back problems. However, his loss has enabled the Yankees to take good, long looks at Ivan Nova, David Phelps and several other young arms. Nova and Phelps have been terrific this spring. This is especially encouraging given how Nova’s spring went last year and how awful he was in the 2012 season. Whatever was wrong seems to be a thing of the past. Of course this is only spring training and is only a small sample but it is an encouraging sample. Phelps’ spring has also gone well and the Yankees will have some real decisions to make when Hughes comes back but the rotation looks bright heading into the season.
Brett Gardner is another bright spot in the Yankees’ spring. He shows no ill effects from his elbow injury that cost him most of last season and has been hitting the ball well this spring while playing very good defense. He might lack power but he brings almost every other element to the game and the Yankees will need a good year from Gardner if they want to score runs.
It is hard to overlook the bad news that has hit the Yankees since the end of last season but there are many bright spots. I’ve only touched upon a few here. This season might be filled with question marks but there are a lot of positives coming out of the Yankees’ spring training complex.