Giancarlo Stanton is already enjoying Yankees more than Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton is already enjoying Yankees more than Marlins

TAMPA — Giancarlo Stanton didn’t drill the scoreboard like Aaron Judge did in the Yankees’ spring training opener last season.

But the newest Bomber was glad to debut with his new team after so many losing years in Miami.

“This is better,” Stanton replied when asked to compare previous spring openers with the Marlins. “Just more exciting, I’d say. It’s a spring game, but I can’t wait to see what we can do. That would be the difference.”

Stanton heard applause from the sellout crowd when he was introduced. Hitting second and playing right field, he drew an eight-pitch walk in his first at-bat and grounded into a 4-3 doubleplay with two on and nobody out in his second and final AB.

“It was just trying to get my timing out there,” said Stanton, who played four innings. “It was good. It was a good day.”

Giancarlo Stanton heard applause from the sellout crowd when he was introduced.

Giancarlo Stanton heard applause from the sellout crowd when he was introduced.

(Lynne Sladky/AP)

Asked if he had any nerves, the reigning NL MVP responded: “No. Once I get in-between the lines, I’m just ready to go. But it’s definitely a cool anticipation of something new and exciting.”

Asked what he wanted to accomplish in camp, Stanton responded: “Being completely ready, feeling how I would when I’m grooving in a season. It’s a little bit of everything, timing, sight.”

Stanton said he is getting well acclimated in the clubhouse. “All the guys are awesome, easy to mesh with, easy to talk to, easy to work with. So, it’s been great.”

WIDE-OPEN COMPETITION

Brandon Drury may be the favorite at third, but according to Aaron Boone, there’s no favorite at second.

Brandon Drury may be the favorite at third, but according to Aaron Boone, there's no favorite at second.

Brandon Drury may be the favorite at third, but according to Aaron Boone, there’s no favorite at second.

(Lynne Sladky/AP)

“To a degree, wide-open I would say,” Boone said. “We have some talented guys.”

Gleyber Torres is expected to get a chance at second – whether that’s Opening Day or later in the year.

The 21-year-old top prospect played his first game since suffering a season-ending injury and having to undergo Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow back in mid-June. Torres wore a shirt with agent David Falk’s famous fax line regarding Michael Jordan’s return to the NBA “I’m Back” on it, but said he just liked how it looked.

Torres went 0-for-2 at the plate and avoided a scare when he had the wind knocked out of him while nearly making a diving play early on.

"Last year was last year," Austin Romine said about seeing Miguel Cabrera in the spring training opener.

“Last year was last year,” Austin Romine said about seeing Miguel Cabrera in the spring training opener.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“I feel real happy, excited,” Torres said. “My focus is to play hard, stay focused and try to help my team win and do my job. I’m not thinking about winning the job or anything like that.”

REUNITED

Austin Romine and Miguel Cabrera appeared to chat for a bit before Cabrera’s first-inning at-bat with Romine behind the plate. Remember, those two got into it during the team’s brawl with the Tigers last season. But all appeared peaceful on Friday.

“I’m not going to talk about that. That was last year,” Romine said before the game. “Last year was last year. I’d like to turn the page and move on and focus on this year.”

Said Aaron Boone, who wasn’t with the Yankees at the time: “I think, on some level, baseball players never forget things. But one of our messages will always be that we’re out there to win games and compete. And turn the page on those kinds of things as best we can.”

OF NOTE

Brandon Drury will be one of the only regulars travelling to Bradenton for Saturday’s road game against the Pirates, as he gets set to make his spring debut with the Yankees following Tuesday trade. Top prospect Estevan Florial will also make the trip. … Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner are expected to make their spring debuts on Monday at home. … The Yankees honored victims and all those affected by last week’s tragedy in Parkland, Fla. by wearing the caps of the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagles baseball team during batting practice and the game. The caps were autographed and set to be auctioned off. The team also held a moment of silence before the national anthem.

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Aaron Boone’s time to shine like he did during interview process

Aaron Boone’s time to shine like he did during interview process

TAMPA — Aaron Boone shook a lot of hands on Friday.

Before Boone’s managerial debut in his team’s spring-training opener at Steinbrenner Field, Miguel Cabrera came over as the Yankees were taking batting practice and congratulated his ex-teammate on his new gig.

And after it ended — a 3-1 Bombers’ win over the Tigers that had a little more meaning than your typical exhibition game — Boone congratulated his team on what he hopes is the start of something special come Opening Day.

“It’s always fun to shake hands (after a victory),” Boone said in his office. “But I thought for the first day we did a lot of things well.”

There were some drawn-out “Boooone” calls from the sellout crowd of 10,129 as No. 17 was introduced. His goal is obvious: trying to bring the franchise its 28th World Series championship — and not just being known as Aaron ‘Bleepin’ Boone, 2003 playoff hero.

A lot to ask for a rookie skipper, no doubt. But the pieces are mostly in place, with reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton complimenting a homegrown core that includes Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Luis Severino.

Now, it’s on Boone to shine like he did during the interview process, when team officials felt he was the best of the bunch: a personable, smart communicator who would collaborate with the front office and embrace analytics. All of those attributes, they felt, were more than enough to overcome the fact he’s never done this before at any level.

For his part, Boone is embracing expectations, as well as the adjustment process of going from the broadcast booth into the dugout. It’s going to take time.

He’s eventually going to face adversity in the form of a losing streak, and he’s eventually going to be criticized after his first miscue. How he handles everything that comes with this high-profile, high-pressure job will go a long way toward determining whether Brian Cashman and Co. got this hire right.

Friday was only the beginning in the process.

As Boone jokingly told veteran manager Ron Gardenhire before the game: “Take it easy on me.”

“When we were exchanging lineup cards, I didn’t want to look him in the eye,” Boone said. “Like he ‘Jedi-mind tricked’ me or something. But it’s good to see him. I know him and competing against him for a long time. It’s just these first days wishing guys well, and he’s been a good one.”

During the game, Boone could be heard on YES Network yelling “outstanding Birdie!” to Greg Bird in one of his at-bats. “That’s ball talk. That’s my whole life,” Boone said. “I’ll throw things out there. I don’t think I’m going to be overly rah-ah or anything like that, but you’ll hear me.”

“He was great. Real positive. Real upbeat,” Bird said. “It’s a good atmosphere in the clubhouse and in the dugout.”

That certainly goes a long way, but in the end, it’s about wins and losses. Spring training is a time to set the foundation. And, for Boone, in a sense, it’s about learning on the fly, so when the games actually matter, he’s prepared.

“As I’ve talked about from Day 1, it’s just the mechanics of it all,” Boone said. “Obviously a spring training game, it’s a little bit different. But one of the things for me in spring training is really getting on the same page communicating with my coaches, whether it’s signs, whether it’s through comments, whether it’s just through non-verbal understanding of each other.

“Those are the things that for me personally will be something that I really want to iron out and button up here over the next five or so weeks,” Boone said.

Yankees fans hope there are a lot more postgame handshakes in Aaron Boone’s future.”

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Aaron Boone to use Yanks’ spring games for evaluation, experience

Aaron Boone to use Yanks’ spring games for evaluation, experience

TAMPA — No one does an imitation of Joe Torre walking from the dugout to the pitcher’s mound quite like Aaron Boone.

Video of Boone hilariously doing the Torre walk when he was with ESPN’s Baseball Tonight has garnered nearly 40,000 views on YouTube — and probably even more laughs.

But don’t expect Boone to be imitating Torre’s walk when he manages his first Yankees spring training game on Friday.

“I’m just hoping I don’t trip and fall,” Boone said jokingly after his Thursday press conference.

Whether he can manage remains to be seen, but Boone certainly looks the part. His hat is often eschewed, his shades can sometimes be found on the back of his neck, and he always walks around with a bat or sunflower seeds in his hands — sometimes both.

The atmosphere in camp has seemed pretty light and relaxed, though Boone has obviously told his players to embrace championship-or-bust expectations and the pressure that comes with them.

Boone figures to learn a thing or two more than more-established managers over the next few weeks, but he’s not about to put a ton of importance personally on games that don’t count in the standings.

“We’re just trying to make different evaluations and probably allow or do some certain things that we might not in the regular season,” Boone said. “Kind of getting a feel for skillsets and what we think different guys are capable of doing. But as I’ve said before spring training is really about individual players and getting them ready for Opening Day, and tomorrow is the start of that.”

Marquee offseason acquisition Giancarlo Stanton is expected to make his spring Yankees debut, highlighting the day. Last season, Aaron Judge hit a mammoth homer in the first game of the spring. No one knew it at the time, but it was a sign of things to come.

“There will be a little excitement with the crowd and pinstripes and playing a game and playing another team,” Boone said. “The juices start to get flowing for that.”

Still, Boone says there are things he can pick up, whether that’s early evaluations of opposing players or situations that come up in the course of a game.

“I don’t think there’s anything especially in these early games where you’re going to pick up anything strategically, but it gives you a chance to see opposing players and start to formulate an opinion and a thought, hopefully things that go into allowing us to win ballgames,” he said.

The pregame workouts are in the books.

“I kind of keep telling people there’s nothing that has blindsided me or has been overwhelming or anything like that,” Boone said. “There are a lot of things that come across the desk each and every day. There are a lot of things you kind of have your tentacles on or are trying to touch each and every day with your coaches and your players. But nothing that’s been overwhelming so far, (though) I understand that day is coming too.”

OF NOTE

Aaron Judge continues to be brought along slowly following offseason surgery.

Aaron Judge continues to be brought along slowly following offseason surgery.

(Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Judge (shoulder) just tracked pitches, rather than taking full batting practice. “He’s doing well, and I think right on schedule to go in a game next week,” Boone said, noting this was built into the schedule. … Boone said Gary Sanchez getting Friday off had nothing to do with last year’s bench-clearing incident against the Tigers, noting the team has a specific plan to keep its franchise catcher fresh. … CC Sabathia threw a live batting practice session. He doesn’t have a date yet for his first spring start, but plans to do bullpens and perhaps sim games in order to stay fresh. Sabathia thought he had a better feel for his changeup. The goal is to keep him healthy. Sabathia tweaked his ankle during a fielding drill early in camp, but it wasn’t anything significant.

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Drury says he grew up a Yankees fan, this 'a dream come true'

Drury says he grew up a Yankees fan, this 'a dream come true'

TAMPA — Brandon Drury says he grew up a Yankee fan, so for him, standing at his new locker wearing pinstripes is “a dream come true. It’s unbelievable.”

Drury is looking forward to playing third base, his natural position. “I’m much more happy to be there,” said the 25-year-old, who was moved to second by the Diamondbacks in 2017 to accommodate emerging star Jake Lamb.

GM Brian Cashman said Wednesday that Drury was the favorite to land the job over Miguel Andujar.

Drury, whom Cashman pursued all winter, said his goals align with those of his new team.

“I’m excited. I want to win a World Series,” Drury said. “That’s the goal here, and we’ve got the guys to do it, so to join a group of guys like this is special to me.”

Drury described his aggressive playing style as “coming after you.”

“I’m here to win. I’m going to be prepared every single day and I’m going to give it all I got,” he said.

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Russell Wilson says he’ll be at Yankees camp on Monday

Russell Wilson says he’ll be at Yankees camp on Monday

TAMPA — Russell Wilson says he will be at Yankees camp on Monday, and he’s looking forward to spending time with the team’s biggest sluggers.

“Hey New York City, I’m here, I’ve got the Yankees hat on,” the Seahawks quarterback said in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday. “I’m headed to spring training on Monday. I can’t wait to see you guys. Feb. 26, we’re going to have some fun that week.”

Wilson also called out Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton: “Let’s play some ball, and we’ll see, we’ll have a little Home Run Derby too. Stanton, I’m coming for you too. Well have some fun, baby.”

Wilson will not play in a game, the team confirmed.

Aaron Judge eager to have a catch (football) with Russell Wilson

Judge, a high-school football standout, previously said he’d like to play catch with Wilson.

“Russell Wilson’s a special guy (with) what he’s done in the NFL — not only on the field but off the field — so it’s going to be cool to have him here, and maybe get a chance to talk to him and meet him,” Judge had said.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 03: Quarterback Tim Tebow #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up on the sidelines against the New York Jets in the third quarter during a pre-season game at MetLife Stadium on September 3, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) photos27f

Two for the Money: Athletes who went pro in more than one sport

The quarterback, who will wear No. 73, was traded to the Bombers from the Rangers in the off-season.

Tags:
mlb
new york yankees
spring training
nfl
seattle seahawks
russell wilson
aaron judge
giancarlo stanton

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