Pitchers and catchers have officially arrived at camp to begin workouts. Position players are arriving as well. It’s that time of year when everyone makes a big deal out of little issues. That keeps spring training fun for us fans and media.
The toughest job this season falls in the hands of new pitching coach Larry Rothschild. He has the burden of putting together a staff, particularly a starting rotation that currently consists of a slimmed down CC Sabathia, a still young Phil Hughes, and an incredibly inconsistent A.J. Burnett. Following those three are two open spots that will be open for the taking by a group of pitchers like Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, Andrew Brackman, Bartolo Colon, Sergio Mitre, and more.
Another pitcher that has been some what if a head scratcher is Joba Chamberlain. Sure, the Yankees had added to the Joba drama by switching him between the bullpen and rotation to many times while also putting “Joba Rules” on him. However, Chamberlain hasn’t exactly been the model for consistency so far in his young career.
Chamberlain arrived at camp heavier than a year ago. The debate seems to be just how much heavier and why. Did he raid Sabathia’s fridge? Or is the extra weight from muscle added after he put a gym in his home?
General manager Brian Cashman acknowledged Joba’s weight gain but refused to comment further. Chamberlain himself swears the added weight is from muscle and states he is in the best shape of his life.
Regardless of the reason, Chamberlain is noticeably larger in the shoulders, lower body, and face.
Outfielder Andruw Jones is also swollen, but his could be an injury concern. The off-season signee arrived in camp with a swollen left knee. The 33-year old veteran says the swelling is from work outs during the winter and is not concerned.
Speaking of Jones, manager Joe Girardi stated that he sees him as a corner outfielder. Jones has played all three outfield positions and has the skill set to handle that, however with the Yankees having Curtis Granderson and regular left fielder Brett Gardner to play the middle, Jones will only need to focus on the corner spots.
Mariano Rivera has not yet arrived at camp. The closer was home with his children who are battling the flu. Rivera has let the team know he will report to camp today and begin work outs. This is nothing to be alarmed about as Rivera’s spring work outs are very slow moving and at this point he does not get on the mound anyway.
All that talk about Neal Cotts being the first player to wear No. 35 since Mike Mussina was useless. Cotts has already been released after a hip problem popped up during his physical. The relief pitcher had been signed to a minor league deal.
For more Yankees spring training coverage, tune in to Double G Sports Radio this morning at 10am EST as host Courtney Fallon discusses some of these issues and more.