Archive for category Spring Training


Posted by on Monday, 4 April, 2016

April 2, 2016

New York Yankees vs. Miami Marlins
Marlins Park
Miami, Florida


By: Rocky Julich

As Yogi Berra would say “it ain’t over ’til it’s over”.

Spring Training. The New York Yankees 114th season in franchise history began their 33 total spring schedule with first game on Wednesday, March 2nd vs. the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

The 2016 Spring Training season began with a camp roster of 69 players: Pitchers 33 – Catchers 9 – Infielders 15 – Outfielders 11 – DH 1 (Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez).

After an April 1st and April 2nd two game schedule vs. Miami Marlins, 2016 Spring Training is over. The first game was a Yankees win (3-2). The final game of spring was played under a domed Marlin Park Stadium, Yankees lose (2-1).

The Yankees 2016 Spring Training record: 14 Wins – 17 Losses – 2 Tied Games

The New York Yankees will officially open their 2016 Major League Baseball season at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx at 1:05 P.M. on Monday, April 4th vs. the Houston Astros. It is a rematch of the October, 2015 American League Wild Card game with starters Dallas Keutchel vs. Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees.

It will be the 114th Yankees Home Opener. The 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Following the game, Matsui will be honored with the “Pride Of The Yankees Award” at the Annual Home Coming Dinner. The Japanese outfielder played during seven seasons and two World Series for the New York Yankees.

Twenty-five players will start the 2016 season in The Bronx.

#22 – CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L-L)
#11 – LF Brett Gardner (L-L)
#13 – DH Alex Rodriguez (R-R)
#25 – 1B Mark Teixeira (S-R)
#34 – C Brian McCann (L-R)
#36 – RF Carlos Beltran (S-R)
#12 – 3B Chase Headley (S-R)
#14 – 2B Starlin Castro (R-R)
#18 – SS Didi Gregorious (L-R)

#43 – C Austin Romine (R-R)
#74 – INF Ronald Torreyes (R-R)
#29 – OF Dustin Ackley (L-R)
#31 – OF Aaron Hicks (S-R)
#66 – OF Mason Williams (L-R)

#19 – Masahiro Tanaka (RHP)
#35 – Michael Pineda (RHP)
#30 – Nathan Eovaldi (RHP)
#40 – Luis Severino (RHP)
#52 – C.C. Sabathia (LHP)

#68 – Dellin Betances (RHP)
#45 – Chasen Shreve (LHP)
#48 – Andrew Miller – Closer (LHP)
#47 – Ivan Nova (RHP)
#39 – Kirby Yates (L/RP)
#83 – Johnny Barbato (RHP)

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka will open the season following off-season elbow surgery.
Masahiro Tanaka 2016 goal is 200 innings pitched.
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel will open the season with a twenty-eight scoreless streak vs. the Yankees.
Yankees 5th starter C.C. Sabathia will start the season continuing an alcohol rehabilitation program.
Yankees newest pitcher from Cuba, Aroldis Chapman under suspension until May for domestic abuse.
Yankees right-hand pitcher Bryan Mitchell will start the season on DL with a fractured toe. Out three months.
Yankees outfielder Mason Williams did not play during Spring Training.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi quote “The key to 2016 season is Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner staying healthy”.
*RHP Johnny Barbato was the recipient of the 2016 James P. Dawson Award given annually to the Yankees outstanding Rookie in Spring Training.

Kids presence in the Clubhouse
Follow-up of Tampa Bay Rays – Cuba game
Smokeless Tobacco Policy enforcement
New Domestic Abuse Policy

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This story was not subject to the approval of Major League baseball or its clubs.

NewYork Mets (7-9-2) vs. New York Yankees (8-9-2)

Posted by on Thursday, 24 March, 2016

March 22, 2016
NewYork Mets (7-9-2) vs. New York Yankees (8-9-2)
George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

I-95 to I-4 “As Queens meets The Bronx”

By: Rocky Julich

It’s Tampa, Florida but the greetings between the Mets and the Yankees has almost the same fan fare as when the two teams play each other in the New York Subway Series. I should know, as I covered both teams for the better part of 30 seasons.

The Florida Spring Training games between the New York teams display a friendly atmosphere. It’s also a time for the media members of both teams to casually meet; print/TV & radio. We all look forward to seeing and chatting with the Mets legendary Vice President, Media Relations Jay Horwitz.
He has been honored with the Thurman Munson Award for outstanding contributions, dedication and hard work for the media community.

It is the second and final game between the New York teams this Spring. The first game was played March 9th to a 4-4 tie at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

The Mets and Yankees play regular MLB season games during four straight days in August; at Citi Field August 1-2 before the Subway Series shifts to Yankee Stadium for August 3-4.

As the Mets head into the final stretch of the Grapfruit League games, here’s a look at what the 2016 Mets Roster may look like for the defending 2015 National League Champions.

OF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright
CF Yoenis Cespedes
1B Lucas Duda
2B Neil Walker
LF Michael Conforto (Questionable)
C Travis d’Arnaud
SS Asdrubal Cabrera

C Kevin Plawecki
OF Juan Lagares (DH during Inter-League games)
OF Alejandro De Aza
INF Wilmer Flores
INF Matt Reynolds
INF Eric Campbell

RHP Matt Harvey
RHP Noah Syndergard
RHP Jacob deGrom
LHP Steven Matz
RHP Bartolo Colon

RHP Jeurys Familia
RHP Addison Reed
LHP Antonio Bastardo
LHP Jerry Blevins
RHP Hansel Robles (Will start 2016 season under two-game suspension for throwing near the head of Phillies Catcher Cameron Rupp, during a game in September, 2015)
LHP Sean Gilmartin

The Game:
RHP Luis Severino opened the game for the Yankees. He held the Mets scoreless first four innings until the fifth inning when back-up catcher/DH Johnny Monell connected the fourth hit charged to Severino. Ex-Yankee Curtis Granderson hit a double to drive in Monell and that was all for Severino who completed his four innings pitched allowing five hits.

The Yankees followed Severino with five relievers LHP Aroldis Chapman, RHP Dellin Betances, LHP Andrew Miller, LHP Tyler Olson, and non-roster invitee RHP Diego Moreno, who together combined for an additional seven hits by the Mets.

LHP Steven Matz (top Rookie prospect) took the mound for the Mets. The Yankees bottom of the second inning provided Matz his second loss of Spring Training. Ten Yankees batters came to the plate. The first batter C Brian McCann ground out to first base. 3B Chase Headley, 2B Starlin Castro, SS Didi Gregorious, LF Brett Gardner, CF Aaron Hicks, DH Alex Rodriguez all consecutively connect for a total of six hits. With the exception of A-Rod, five recorded runs. To end the inning, 1B Mark Teixeira walks, RF Carlos Beltran hits a sacrifice fly to left field. C Brian McCann who started the second inning took his second at bat and struck out swinging, for the third out.

During the Mets subsequent innings, RHP Hansel Robles, non-roster invitees LHP Duane Below, RHP Zack Thornton and RHP Paul Sewald take the mound in relief, but the win was decided for the Yankees with the five runs in the second inning.

Ex-Yankee (1982) – Ex-Mets outfielder (1976-1981-86-89) Lee Mazzilli, Yankees guest Spring Training instructor was on hand to watch his son, L.J. Mazzilli substitute at second base during the eighth inning. During his one turn at bat he popped out to centerfield. L.J. Mazzilli was the Mets fourth round pick in 2013 from UConn. He plays at Double-AA Binghamton of the Eastern League and was a Mets non-roster invitee during Spring Training.

Game Notes:
Mets used 19 position players, including 5 pitchers – Yankees 24 players, including 6 pitchers.
The Mets connected twelve hits and left 12 men on base.

After the game, the Yankees optioned OF Slade Heathcott to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and reassigned him to minor league camp. The Yankees Players on Camp Roster (44) Pitchers: 21, Catchers 5, Infielders 10, Outfielders 7 DH: 1

Happy 28th Birthday Yankees RHP Dellin Betances (the Gentle 6’8”Giant)

The Mets are celebrating their 30th Anniversary 1986 – 2016

Tuesday, March 22nd, the New York Mets and the New York Yankees agreed with the Players Association to the ban on the use of smokeless tobacco by their players (Agreement awaiting to be signed into law by the Mayor of New York). A notice is pinned on the bulletin board in the Players Clubhouse: “Anyone wanting Nicotine Replacement Therapy Supplies (Gum, Lozenges, or Patches) please see the coach.”

Yankees 6 Mets 3
WP: Luis Severino (2-0)
LP: Steven Matz (0-2)
Save: Diego Moreno (1)
Time: 3:00
Attendance: 11,146 (sell-out)
Official Scorer: Nicholas Flammia

RTFR Radio – Stay Tuned


This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boston Comes To Town

Posted by on Wednesday, 9 March, 2016

Bosox_3.5.2016Boston_to_townMarch 5, 2016


Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

George M. Steinbrenner Field

Tampa, Florida


When Boston Comes To Town


By:  Rocky Julich


It’s a different mood.  No matter if it’s Yankee Stadium in The Bronx or GMS Field on North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.  When Red Sox come to play, the atmosphere is festive as the fans arrive early and the autograph seekers line three around the seats of the visiters dugout.  The fans are everywhere.


2016 – A Yankees first look at the Boston Red Sox traveling team: #50-RF Mookie Betts, #12-2B Brock Holt, #47-3B Travis Shaw, #5-1B Allen Craig, #25-CF Jackie Bradley, Jr., #64-DH Bryce Brentz, #31-LF Brennan Boesch, #16-SS Deven Marrero, #3-C Sandy Leon.  #35-RHP Steven Wright.


The traveling Red Sox Roster is a line-up of non-roster players, rookies and three players with one-plus seasons of Major League service.


#34 David Ortiz did not travel with the team.  This marks his 20th and final Spring training.  The Boston Red Sox will not play the Yankees in Tampa again this season.  A trip around-the-Grapefruit League during the final spring of David Ortiz career would have been welcomed by the fans.  Many fans in the ballpark will never step foot inside Yankee Stadium or visit Fenway Park’s Green Monster.  Why did Ortiz not make the trip?


The Major League Baseball players have evolved.  Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?


On a sunny afternoon at Steinbrenner Field, the Manager Joe Girardi listed on the Yankees line vs. Boston.  #22-CF Jacoby Ellsbury, #36-RF Carlos Beltran, #13-DH Alex Rodriguez, #25-1B Mark Teixeira, #34-C Brian McCann, #12-3B Chase Headley, #29-2B Dustin Ackley, #82-LF Ben Gamel, #93-SS Jorge Mateo.


Jorge Mateo (Santo Domingo Oeste, D.R.) is the Yankees No. 1 prospect and it’s exciting to watch his blazing speed on the field.  The infielder is 6’0”-188 lbs. and at 20 years of age, the youngest  player in camp.


Manager Joe Girardi lost no time in game strategy.  He simply let the Yankees play their game and he managed challenging Boston and entertaining fans by showcasing 9 pitchers, during 9 innings.

#81-RHP Tyler Cloyd (non-roster) faced 4 batters

#45-LHP Chasen Shreve – faced 3 batters

#50-RHP Nick Rumbelow – faced 3 batters

#75-RLP Tyler Olson – faced 4 batters

#83-RHP Johnny Barbato – faced 3 batters

#84-LHP Richard Blier (non-roster) faced 3 batters

#63-RHP Kyle Haynes (non-roster) faced 3 batters

#62-Mark Montgomery (non-roster) faced 6 batters

#73-RHP Nick Goody – faced 3 batters

None of the Yankees pitchers gave up a walked to a Boston player and only 5 hits were connected by the Red Sox  (2 homeruns against pitcher Montgomery).


Yankees Game Notes:

Jacoby Ellsbury – double, run scored

Carlos Beltran – single, run scored

Alex Rodriguez – 2 hits, BB (in two games 5 for 6 – one home run – 2 RBI)

Mark Teixeira – batted righthanded and lefthanded, one hit

Jorge Mateo – sprinted around the bases, lost his cap, connected first home run of spring.

Aaron Judge – 6’7” 255 lbs. (non-roster) Pinch hitter displayed his homerun trot in the 7th inning.

Rob Refsnyder – Pinch hitter connects first hit, run.



Final:  Yankees 6 – 10 hits    Red Sox 4 – 5 hits

WP:     Nick Rumbelow (1-0)

LP:      Steven Wright (0-1)

SV:      Nick Goody (1)

Time:  2:18

Attendance:  10,991 (As expected the game was a sell-out)


RTFR Radio – Stay Tuned


This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

Aroldis Chapman Suspended

Posted by on Saturday, 5 March, 2016

March 2, 2016

New York Yankees
2016 Spring Training
George M. Steinbrenner FieldTampa, Florida

Aroldis Chapman Suspension

By:  Rocky Julich

On March 1st, Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, using his jurisdiction under baseball’s newly adopted domestic violence policy,  announced that the New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman had accepted a 30-game suspension without pay for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.  The suspension will be effective on Opening Day of the Yankees’ 2016 regular season.

The suspension will cost Chapman about $1.8M of the $11.325M he was awarded in arbitration.  The loss of time will not affect his free agency status in 2017.  Chapman said that was a factor in his decision not to appeal.

“I accept the decision,” Chapman said of the suspension through an interpreter.  “I thought about it and I believe this is the best decision for me, my family and for my teammates.”  “I have to take responsibility for it”.  “I want to put this behind me, move on, help this team win.”

Aroldis Chapman becomes the first Major League player to receive a suspension of its kind under the new Policy.

Chapman’s girlfriend alleged that he choked her after an argument over some text messages on his phone.  According to police reports, Chapman then went out to a detached garage on his property and fired eight shots from a handgun, one which flew through a window and into an open field.

After a comprehensive investigation, the Commissioner found Chapman’s acknowledged conduct to be inappropriate under the negotiated Policy, particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner.

Aroldis Chapman agreed to comply with the confidential directives of the Joint Policy Board established under the parties’ Policy to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.

In the interim, Chapman will be allowed to take part in all spring training games and activities and he will be allowed to continue training at the Yankees’ minor league complex where he will be able to pitch in extended spring training and simulated games.  The lefthanded Closer will not be allowed to pitch in minor league games that charge admission.

The New York Yankees anticipate the alleged domestic violence incident is put behind him and media attention instead is focused on Chapman’s pitching.

Aroldis Chapman is from a different country, of another culture.   Under the confidential directives, did Chapman at anytime express that he was perplexed at all the media attention to his misconduct and did he agree to receive counseling?  Chapman has disclosed that he no longer owns any firearms.

In Chapman’s absence, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Andrew Miller would again serve as the team’s Closer.  It is expected Chapman will be able to take the Closer’s role when he is eligible to return on May 9.

RTFR Radio – Stay tuned

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its Clubs.

NY Yankees Spring Training 1st Game

Posted by on Saturday, 5 March, 2016


March 2, 2016

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

Opening Game – 2016 Spring Training

By: Rocky Julich

The first exhibition game of the New York Yankees Spring Training schedule marks the 21st consecutive season at Steinbrenner Field (1996-2016), formerly Legends Field.  It is the 114th spring season in franchise history.

Roll Call in camp 40-man roster and non-roster invitees total:  32 pitchers – 9 catchers – 15 infielders – 12 outfielders and 1 DH.  Numbers may change daily.

The youngest player in camp: INF Jorge Mateo, age 20
The oldest player in camp: DH Alex Rodriguez, age 40
Most tenured player in camp:  DH Alex Rodriguez 21 years, 11 days
Tall fact:  14 players on the Spring Training roster are 6’4″ or taller, all but three are pitchers.

The New York Yankees Spring Training Game Opening Program began with the customary pomp and circumstance.  The introduction of Yankees Legends Orlando “Duque” Hernandez, Hideki Matsui, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene “Stick” Michaels, Willie Randolph, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron “Louisiana Lightning” Guidry, “Mr. October”, Reggie Jackson.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Yogi Berra who passed away September 22, 2015.  Catcher, #8 Lawrence “Yogi” Berra, the eternal favorite of the fans for 69 years.

Manager Joe Giraardi stood atop the Yankees dugout with his coaches and players as the National Anthem was sung.

Game start 1:05 pm

Luis Severino RHP (Sabana de la Mar, D.R.) starting pitcher for the Yankees was dominated by the Tigers during the 2nd inning.  He gave up 3 hits, walked 2 and surrendered a grand slam to catcher Bryan Holaday to start Detroit in the lead 5-0.  Severino was taken out of the game after 1-1/3 innings and received a no-decision.

Detroit scored runs in 3rd & 4th innings against RHPs Nick Rumbelow and Mark Montgomery.

Mike Pelfrey RHP, who pitched for Minnesota last season, made his first start of Spring for Detroit.  He pitched 3 innings, 2 strikeouts.  Pitching during the 4th & 5th innings, Detroit relievers RHP Drew Verhagen, LHP Blain Hardy, RHP Endrys Briceno gave up 5 runs which tied the game 7-7.

In the bottom of the 7th inning, a double by catcher Austin Romine and an RBI single by Chris Parmalee pushed the Yankees ahead 8-7.

Detroit scored 2 runs at the top of the 9th inning,   Detroit 9 – Yankees 8.

Not to be outdone by Detroit, during the bottom of the 9th inning, Yankees non-roster invitee SS Jorge Mateo hit a triple to start the inning.  Catcher Austin Romine drove in the game tying run with an infield single which scored Jorge Mateo from 3rd,  9-9.  What followed is in true Spring Training fashion, non-roster invitee, infielder Tyler Wade entered game to pinch run for Austin Romain.  With two outs, non-roster invitee, centerfielder Dustin Fowler reaches first on a fielding error by Detroit leftfielder Jason Krizan which in turn scored pinch runner Tyler Wade.  The error provided the Yankees a walk-off the field victory.  The first win during 2016 Spring Training.

Final: Tigers 9, Yankees 10
WP:  Nick Goody (1-0)
LP:  Joe Mantiply
Time:  3:08
Attendance:  9,023
Official Scorer:  Nicholas Flammia (Tampa Yankees broadcaster)

Spring Training – Player Development at the Major League level.

During the course of the nine-inning, 3:08 game, between Detroit and New York – 53 players were used in the game; including 15 pitchers.

Major League Baseball Spring Training starts as a slow, developing and observing game.  The Major Leaguers on the active rosters practice and play to “warm” their skills after the off season, to get back into a daily routine.  Some of the players are recovering from previous season injuries.

Non-Roster invitees:  While some are seasoned Major Leaguers vying for a roster spot, most of the invitees are young players, the best performers from the previous season in the Minor Leagues.  These players/pitchers are offered the opportunity to experience the game within a caliber of talented Major League players.  When Spring training camp breaks for the start of a new Major League Baseball season, perhaps one/two of the non-roster invites will outperform and be asked to join the starting roster of the Major League team.

RTFR Radio – Stay tuned

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.








No Big Story Here

Posted by on Tuesday, 23 February, 2016

The Fantastic 4

February 18, 2016
New York Yankees 2016 Spring Training


By Rocky Julich

He was born on February 28, 1988 in Holguin, Cuba. His dad is Jamaican, his mother is Cuban. He will celebrate his 28th birthday as a pitcher’s Closer on the 2016 New York Yankees team. The left-hander is 6’4” tall and weights 215 lbs.

During July, 2009, Aroldis Chapman defected from Cuba to the United States while pitching in a baseball tournament in the Netherlands. According to Chapman, he simply left his room at the Domina Hotel in Rotterdam and went down to the lobby “got in a car and left”.

Chapman was originally signed by the Cincinnati Reds on January 11, 2010 to a six-year, 30.25M contract, extending through the 2015 season. A National League All-Star in each of the last four seasons (2012-15). He is the only relief pitcher ever to be named to four All-Star teams while playing for the Reds. He tossed the ninth inning for the National League in the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park, striking out all three batters faced.

In the home clubhouse at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, Aroldis Chapman most often sat quietly at his locker before games, perhaps because of a cultural or language barrier, he rarely spoke to anyone. He seemed to stand alone among the Cincinnati players.

While consideration was being made to bring Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees, he was described to the Yankees as very quiet and private. A quiet personality. Introverted. Very careful about the people he let into his life. An exceptionally hard worker, with a work ethic off the charts. And, all Business. While the New York Yankees where mulling on getting Chapmen, the Manager Joe Girardi was consulted and asked for his advise regarding the signing.

Chapman went 4-4 with 33 saves and a 1.63 ERA (66.1 IP, 12 ER) in 65 relief appearances with the Reds in 2015. His 15.74K/9.0 IP ratio led all Major League relieves, while his 116 K ranked second behind Dellin Betances (131). He recorded his 500 career strikeout on July 19 vs. Cleveland, having reached the plateau in 292.0 IP to become the fastest to 500 K be innings pitched in Major League history (surpassed Craig Kimbrel’s record of 500 K in 305.0 IP, set earlier in 2015.

Since 1901, 746 pitchers have thrown at least 300 innings. Chapman is not only the all-time leader in strikeout percentage (42.9%), he is also leader in lowest batting average against .153. Already establishing incredible facts, Aroldis Chapman may be the hardest throwing regular pitcher baseball has ever seen. For certain, the hardest thrower of the hardest-throwing generation of pitchers.

According to MLB’s Statcast, Chapman threw the 62 fastest pitches in the Majors in 2015, with a high of 103.92 mph on June 29 (fouled off by Minnesota’s Brian Dozier). He also posted the highest average fastball velocity in the Majors (99.96 mph) ahead of Kansas City’s Kelvin Herrera (98.46).

Over six career Major League seasons (2010-15), Chapman has gone 19-20 with 146 saves, a 2.17 ERA (319.0 IP, 169 H, 77 ER, 155 BB, 546 K) and 1.02 WHIP in 324 relief appearances. Since 2010, he leads all Major League relievers with a 15.40 K/9.0 IP ratio and ranks second on strikeouts, trailing only Kimbrel (563). He is the only pitcher in Major League history with four seasons of a least 30 saves and 100 K, having done so in each of the last four seasons (2012-15). Only Eric Gagne (2002-2004) and Billy Wagner (1999, 2003, 2010) have had as many as three such seasons in their careers.

Aroldis Chapman has more career saves than any other Cuba born pitcher, surpassing Danys Baez’s record (114) on April 10, 2015 vs. St. Louis.

Yet, while in Cincinnati he had a penchant for finding trouble or trouble finding him. Allegations of weapons misuse, driving violations, social behavioral pattern and domestic issues.

On December 28, 2015 the New York Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds with a one-year non-guaranteed contract thus, avoiding arbitration. In the exchange with Cincinnati were included Yankees RHP Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davies and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.

It is thought that Aroldis Chapman is a Yankee mostly because of his troubling off the field issues. To acquire him from the Cincinnati Reds, the Yankees took advantage of Chapman’s situation, which included the reliever’s pending free agency, by using a discounted Minor Leagues package.

It is questionable how the transition from a small market Cincinnati to the metropolis of New York will impact the phenom Cuban left-hander.

In the questionable transition, according to a police report, is the allegation that he choked his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots in the garage of his home in Davie, Florida. While the police decided not to charge Chapman, Major League Baseball, under its new Domestic Violence Policy, will make its own ruling. A suspension is possible, as it will be among the first rulings under the new Agreement in which the Players’ Association ceded authority to Commissioner Rob Manfred to make the final call and it is rumored that Manfred is being pressured to send a clear message.

Chapman has spoken to investigators from MLB concerning the domestic violence incident he’s alleged to have been involved in early in the off season and had nothing to clarify other than what was included in the Police Report. Through a translator he said “if disciplined by MLB, he would appeal any suspension”. “I understand everybody is worried about the issue, I understand everybody wants to know” Chapman said. “It’s something that is out of my hands and my main focus is to play baseball. I feel great, I’m happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started”.

RTFR Radio – Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.


Posted by on Thursday, 28 March, 2013

March 28, 2013

George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

By: Rocky Julich

It’s been unusually chilly cold and windy during this March Spring season in the Grapefruit League.

Much like the weather, during Spring Training the New York Yankees experienced a season of cold players. The cold appeared in the Yankees line-ups.

Consider the use of six players at first base with left handed #55 Lyle Overbay with the “inside track” as the likely candidate to open the season in The Bronx. Overbay was signed on March 26th after being released by the Boston Red Sox. He appeared in three Spring Training games in a Yankees uniform. The Yankees released recently signed #54 Juan Rivera who covered first base for much of Spring Training. The reason may be that the last time Rivera played in a Yankees uniform was in the original Yankee Stadium outfield during the 2003 season.

Expect that after recovering from a torn right tendon sheath, #25 Gold Glove Mark Teixeira should take over at first base sometime after the month of May.

We watched five talented players commit 20 errors at third base and none had the number 13 of Rodriguez on the back of the uniform. At third base, for his first Opening Day in Pinstripes, #36 Kevin Youkilis of Red Sox fame is not a Rodriguez look-a-like. Will A-Rod, the real third baseman pivot at third after the All Star break?

Roaming between left field, centerfield and right field, twenty players took 94 turns at home plate with a total production of 107 hits, eleven homeruns and 47 RBIs. During the 2013 season, #56 Vernon Wells, #11 Brett Gardner and #31 Ichiro Suzuki will individually bring a lot of this and a lot of that to the fans of The Bronx. #14 Curtis Granderson, recovering from a fractured right forearm is expected during early May playing LF/CF?

Looking for a Yankees Catcher? #40 Francisco Cervelli and #19 Chris Stewart will be the men behind the mask.

DHing for the New York Yankees? No players lacking here. The bench will be kept warm.

New York Yankees Captain, shortstop Derek Jeter will be missed as he starts the season on the disabled list. Five players filled in at short, but #26 Eduardo Nunez has proven, as best he can, to be the replacement for the fan favorite Jeter. Derek will remain in the Minor Leagues for an extended Spring Training.

Only three players from the 2012 Opening Day line-up will step out of the dugout for the Yankees Home Opener on Monday, April 1st vs. the Boston Red Sox; #24 Robinson Cano, #11 Brett Gardner and #52 pitcher C.C. Sabathia.

Superstar second baseman Robinson Cano and MVP of the 2013 World Baseball Classic “is not feeling pressure to carry the Yankees”.

And so the time has come. It will be future Hall of Fame closing pitcher #42 Mariano Rivera’s final Opening Day. After 18 seasons in a New York Yankees uniform, Mariano is optimistic despite the injuries to the Yankees star players. Throughout his career, it is his talent and faith that has sustained him.

While #65 Phil Hughes will remain with the Minor League Club pitching during extended Spring Training, as he recovers from a bulging disk in his upper back, the Yankees team is returning to The Bronx with a strong pitching rotation and a healthy bullpen. Among the arms, #52 C.C. Sabathia, #46 Andy Pettitte, #18 Hiroki Kuroda, #41 David Phelps, #30 David Robertson, #62 Joba Chamberlain, #48 Boone Logan, #96 Vidal Nuno.

Vidal Nuno is the recipient of the 2013 James P. Dawson Award given annually to the outstanding Yankees Rookie in Spring Training. He is a left handed long reliever. His record: 1-1, 0.61 ERA with one save in seven appearances (2 starts). He permitted one run in 14-2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, walking four and striking out 13.

It will not be a walk in the park to October for the ever highly competitive Yankees in the American League East.

In conclusion, please remember, these are the ever confident New York Yankees and injury set-backs have never put a tweek in their winning bravado.

In the meantime, the following is the projected Opening Day line-up at Yankee Stadium:
CF Brett Gardner
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Robinson Cano
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH Travis Hafner
LF Vernon Wells
3B Jayson Nix
SS Eduardo Nunez
C Chris Stewart
P C.C. Sabathia

Do you like the chances of the playoffs with the transitional Yankees line-up? Perhaps it might be fun to use the player numbers in your local lottery.

Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional baseball Leagues


Posted by on Wednesday, 27 February, 2013

February 27, 2013
George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

By: Rocky Julich

Prior to the afternoon of a spring training game, a lot goes on with the players. All types of physical conditioning; print, radio & TV interviews and meetings.

Today there was a player/union meeting. Mark Teixeira as the Yankees team representative, during a briefing of the media in the player’s Clubhouse presented a picture of the issues discussed.

Steroids. The one voice assured that “most guys are on the same page”. They want a clean game and are voicing each new issue as it comes up. The Yankees first baseman made his feelings clear as to solutions regarding steroids. He expressed belief that the sight of players becoming twice their size will be less common, as will the feat of hitting 60 homeruns.

Recognizing that steroids is a part of baseball which will not go away, Mark Teixeira is all for increasing testing, in order for the teams to stay ahead of the “cheats”. With union leadership, he would like to see fixing the science side. Having your “name dragged through the mud” is punishment.

The game of the day starts promptly at 1:05 pm as both teams place and test on the playing field the best players of previous seasons and the best players in development.

A, AA and AAA players each play to learn from the other during a spring training afternoon.

The Yankees lost this game early with the pitching failure of a young LHP being developed for the Major Leagues. To quote the manager Joe Girardi, “it was nerves, but a good experience for Nik Turley”.

Nine (9) Yankees pitchers followed Nik Turley on the mound to complete the game; Eppley, Daley, Rondon, Kahnle, Montgomery, Spence, Claiborne and Pope. Between the group, they combine one year of Major League Baseball experience.

With a score of Baltimore 10 – Yankees 7, the Yankees notched five (5) errors during the game. Manager Girardi “the game was sloppy, but these are young kids, our regulars are not healthy”.

There were bright moments in the Yankees fielding. Johnson to Joseph 5-3 out during Baltimore’s 4th inning. What a throw, what a leg splitting catch.

A Spring Training afternoon – observed, player development.

Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.


Posted by on Tuesday, 26 February, 2013

February 24, 2013

George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

By Rocky Julich

How many ways has it been written about the “rite of spring”? A good guess would be as often as has been written about the rite of Major League Baseball Spring Training. It was the year 1890 when the concept of Spring Training was developed as a time for the players of the day to experience the game through rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth.

Since 1903, the New York Yankees teams have experienced all of the above during the 111 seasons of spring, while training 18 consecutive seasons in Tampa and before then, 33 seasons in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The Yankees have always been considered a resilient team. They have been a franchise which has been able to pull championships out of a hat or better yet out of free agents.

It is a different era in Major League Baseball and there can be no denying that the 2013 Yankees will place on the field what some consider the worst line-up in decades. The current players are a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
The oldest player in camp, RHP Mariano Rivera is 43 years of age. Eight players listed on the Yankees roster have more than 10 years of service. While their superstars 3B A-Rod and shortstop Derek Jeter are in the sunset of their careers.
So fans get ready, rebirth through youth is where the team is headed.

The Yankees players, vulnerable positions?

During the media press briefing Manager Joe Girardi stated, “I’ve said you never really know about the depth of your club until it’s tested. Well, it’s going to be tested here. We’re going to find out how deep we are.” During the rite of Spring Training.

The Yankees outfield is uncertain with the injury to Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner’s switch to centerfield. The infield is being held by the gloves of Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira. Perhaps looking forward to Rob Segedin at third? Catcher, catcher, how about the glove of youngster Gary Sanchez? And, starting pitching for the Yankees, straight out of Single-A may be Jose Ramirez and Nik Turley.

Stay tuned………


Posted by on Thursday, 22 March, 2012

March 16, 2012
Friday – 3:15 pm
George M. Steinbrenner (Legends) Field
Tampa, Florida


Andy Pettitte in Deer Park Texas
Telephone Press Conference
Transcript of questions and answers:

Jason Zillo, New York Yankees
Director, Communications & Media Relations

I’ve got the (media) crew here. Thanks for joining us, I know there is a lot going on today.

Wall Street Journal:
How much was your family behind this decision. Were they fully supportive 100%?

They are, they weren’t crazy about me retiring last year. I would’ve never have done this if, especially my wife, if she didn’t feel good about it. It’s been awsome being home, that’s for sure. Like I said, I’m sure we’ll get into it. When Cash called me and we kind of committed try tostart working out and kind of get this thing going. I couldn’t commit in January or February and I just was enjoying working out again. My family is behind this 100%, I’ve got a wife of absolute gold. She looks at me and she says you are the lead of the household and I am going to follow you and what ever you think is the right decision for us I’ll support you and I would love for you to do it if you want to do it, so it makes my life easier that’s for sure.

Star Ledger
Cash was telling us earlier that at one point he told you to shut it down from your throwing. Why did you keep throwing? You told him later on that you kept working, why?

All I can say is, tha’s exactly right. I was working out, I spoke with Hal. In January we were talking and obviously we talked and I couldn’t commit and he said we’ve got to build a team and I said I understand that so we kind of agreed that something may not happen so keep working out and let’s see if you can get the juices flowing and if nothing happens then we’ll see if you’ll be able to commit in a few weeks and obviously something happened, they signed Kuroda and Michael and so when they signed those guys they called me and said hey you can shut it down. The money that we were going to use is gone and you know the spot in the rotation you know obviously we have 7 starters now cause at that time they had A.J. (Burnett) and they said so just go ahead and shut it down and so I said o.k. And after three or 4 days, I looked at my wife and I said Babe I was loving it working out, I couldn’t commit to them but I was loving working out and she said well just keep working out, so I kept working out and that’s when I went down to Spring Training and didn’t know if I would tell them or not but I told Hal and I told Cash that you all told me to quit working out but I was working out and still was throwing and I think I would love to play man and they were like oh my goodness. How are we going to work this out so that kind has been the process.

You were just talking on TV about how important it was for you to be the man of the house and you wanted to spend a little time with your family. What was it that persuaded you to come back and do this and change the teams direction completely?

I think that it was just like I said, as a man, my desire to work is back . I felt like last year the desire to go to the gym and do what needed to be done to go to the gym just wasn’t there and the commitment level wasn’t there and once Cash and I spoke in December and I started working out again I don’t know if it was because I had a year off or I had however many months, it was 8 months from waking up and training and getting ready for the season was back and just my desire to work it’s just back and I love working and for me I guess as a man that kind of right now is just overriding and I guess also having the opportunity to be here to coach my kids to see my boys play high school baseball those things that I was missing so much, I’ve had the opportunity to do that and not that I’m not going to miss that, I’m going to really miss it but just when you pray about something which I have done continuously on this and when I look at my wife and she says she feels good about it, then I just kind of follow what I feel my heart is telling to do and this is where I’m at right now. And I think I told you all that when people ask me would I ever come back you know, I would probably be too embarassed to come back. Because I am retiring and I ‘m announcing a retirment and that’s really where I’ve been for the last 3 or 4 days. I am embarrased that I am coming back but then, I’m like what can I do, things have changed, my desire to do this has changed and I sure as heck don’t want to look back 10 years down and said I wished I would have done that. And the guys on the club when I am around the team the desire that they show that they want me to come back it’s just been amazing, for me it’s a no brainer. I’m not scared if this happens I don’t think I’m going to fail, but I’m not scared to coming back, I’m not worried about that. I’m going to come back and I’m going to trust in my heart that I am doing the right thing. And, I am hoping and praying that it’s going to be great.

George King:
Do you know you can win here or you’re going to find that out as this thing goes along?

George, I don’t think that I could do this unless I thought for sure mentally that I could get back to where I was and so I really believe that mentally I’ll be able to get back to where I was and so I believe that if I am mentally right then I’m going to win. I just believe that because I have pitched through so much stuff and, I’ve talked to you all plenty, you all know me as good as anybody. The biggest thing for me was mentally can I get back to where I was and I really believe I can and I needed to, the reason why I couldn’t commit to the Yankees earlier was because I needed to go through the process, I didn’t have time to get on the mound to do the stuff I felt I needed to do to tell them that I could get there. And during my work right now, my bullpen work and stuff like that, I can feel it all coming back as far as the mental the mental side of it also. I’m just hoping and praying physically that I hold together which I think I will and, but you never know as far as that. I mean 2010 my groin was hurting but my mind was as sharp as its ever been and I felt as I pitched great in the playoffs and that was with a bad goin and not great stuff and just felt as I grind my way to get through it. I’m ready for that challenge to do that to get through what it takes.

The Record – Pete Kelly
Do you know exactly when you are going to get to Tampa and what you would be starting to do immediately. Are you ahead of what a normal start of Spring Training training would be at this point?

I don’t know really. I plan on being in Tampa Tuesday night. It is my plan right now and then I’m not real sure. I have to get there and I’m sure I’ll be in touch with Larry (Rothchild) the pitching coach. And now it will be me and him just getting it figured out and just figuring out exactly how slow they feel like they need to take me. Because obviously like I said, I’m throwing bullpen where I am throwing 60 or so pitches in the bullpen so that’s built up pretty good right there but I may have to back off from that just to start getting my legs tough covering bases that stuff because I haven’t done anything like that on a daily basis.

Sweeny Murti – WFAN Radio:
What’s going to be the hardest part about this for you?

I think the hardest part will just be the next few days just knowing that I am coming back and I guess a little bit of the unknown for the first few days that I’m down there that will probably be the hardest part but I tell you man, the guys on the team are absolutely awsome and maybe it’s just me feeling anxious about it . Swish (Nick Swisher) just called me and was screaming on the phone (media laughter) and I talked to the guys, I texted pretty much everybody and right before we released this because I wanted the guys to know and I think everybody is fired up. I just can’t wait to get there. You just don’t know how important it isfor me to be around the guys and I just can’t wait to get there for me, even with the guys that are not there, to be able to build up the relationships and stuff with those guys and just looking forward to doing it. To answer your question, I think just because I have been gone and just the adjustment of the last time I walked in there I walked into the coach’s office and this time I will be walking to the other side again. That will probably just be the weirdest part of it. Once I stood on the mound the other morning it was like I never left even though it was Tuesday morning and Cashman was standing there with Gene Michaels, Joe and Larry it was like I never left, to tell you the truth it was really weird.

New York Times:
How much of this decision is just wanting to play baseball again and how much is it this team, in other words if there wasn’t an opportunity here there was not an opportunity in your mind anywhere.

That is correct. Obviously, I realize they’ve build a team. It was the Yankees or nothing. Obviously, you guys realize this is all about just me having the desire to do this again. For what I am coming back and playing for is an awful lot of money and I realize that but it’s a long ways away from what we were talking about in January, you know. But I just have the desire to work again and as a man I want to go to work and my work is baseball, it’s pitching and that’s what I know. I am going to get it cranked back up and do it again.

Mark Feinseind
And what was Jeter’s and Mariano’s reactions when you told them for sure that you were coming back?

Actually, Mo doesn’t know for sure. I’m sure he does now. Mo doesn’t carry a cell phone around anymore, so I have been told. He probably found out today. But I did talk to Jeter and they’re excited and pretty fired up and I tell you the first text message I got when it came out was from Jorgie (Posada) and he was fired up and was just saying welcome back and wishing me the best of luck so that was a pretty cool to get a text from him.

Andrew Marchand
ESPN-New York
Is Jorge (Posada) next?

Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think so, he definitely hasn’t told me anything like that I can tell you that for sure. I don’t believe so.

When do you think you will be on a Major League mound, when do you think will be your time table.

I’m just not sure. I mean, I hate to even start throwing stuff out there just because I’m not sure but I would imagine, I would think that if everything goes great, I don’t even know, I would hate to say anything just because I don’t know what the Yankees are thinking of yet how slow they want to take me, how careful they want to be, you know what I mean.

(Joel Sherman: Well just keep it between us)

We’re going to work together with that I think if they want me to go just from where I am right now, I think I could probably start doing rehab starts or starts in probably two or three weeks. That’s what I would think to be able to get out there and throw a couple of innings to start off with.

Mark Feisand (again)
On a separate note. Do you know if you are going to have to take time away to go to testify in the Clemens (Roger) trial?

Oh man that’s not anything that I would even want to talk about. You know, until you brought that up, that hasn’t even entered into my mind.

Joel Sherman – NY Post
I realize you are just coming back but are you coming back and are you thinking I am going to keep on playing if I like this, not just the 2012 thing.

I’m not sure Joel, I really am not. I can tell you right now in my mind it’s this year and then I would be like I’ve always been, just evaluate where I’m at and try to weigh my feelings, how I’m feeling and go from there so that’s probably the best answer I could give you right now is that I will probably be in the same boat I was in 2009 and 2010 and just try to go home and figure out exactly what I want to do.

Jason Zillo – anybody else?

Joel Sherman
Is Mariano (Rivera) retiring at the end of the year?

Laughter! Oh man, I’ll let him tell you guys that.

Media members – Andy, thank you.

All right guys, I appreciate it. It was extremely difficult to know that me and the Yankees were talking and to see you guys, a couple of you all said hey you look good why don’t you think about coming back in June. So that’s been tough and I am glad it’s over and it’s out of the way and I’m glad I can talk to you guys about it and looking forward to coming back and seeing you guys.

Sweeny Mirti
Next time you tell us the truth , no changing your mind, o.k? (Media laughter)

All right man.