TAMPA – Corey Kluber threw his first live batting practice of the spring at the Yankees’ minor league complex on Sunday, with Gary Sanchez behind the plate and Aaron Boone sounded pleased by what he saw.
The manager called the output “good”.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of talk,” Boone said of Kluber’s arrival on a one-year, $ 11 million deal after pitching just one inning in the past two seasons due to a broken forearm in 2019 and a knee injury. shoulder last year.
“He came here having shot live and it was even more exhausting than [Sunday] was. It was good to have Gary with him live. Another good step forward in the process for him. “
The health of Kluber’s right arm is key to a rotation looking to support Gerrit Cole after losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and JA Happ to free agency during the offseason.
Aroldis Chapman unveiled a spread-fingered fastball last year, but he used the pitch sparingly. Expect to see more this season.
“I think it’s definitely a pitch for me,” Chapman said through an interpreter. “I feel like I’ve incorporated that tone into my tone mix.”
He expects to use the divider more than his change has, which he throws “just a couple of times here and there.”
“I definitely feel great about it,” Chapman said of the splitter. “[It’s] definitely a weapon to be used in the future. “
Austin Wells was selected by the Yankees last June and was never able to play a game due to the pandemic, so he is trying to take advantage of everything he can to get to camp early.
“I’ve been in remote training for over a year,” Wells said. “Any at-bat against any pitcher is beneficial to me.”
Wells is just one of the minor league players who lost as much as a developmental season when the minor leagues were shut down last year.
Reese said running player development without games has been “interesting.”
“It has been a challenge,” Reese said. “It was tough. Throw away the game plan for a year and adjust it as you go. “
The Yankees chose not to have an instructional league last fall, and Reese said the organization decided there was too much risk involved with COVID cases in Florida at the time and that the Yankees did not have their own hotel to house the players. in a safe way.
Miguel Andujar is not the only position player who must report to camp this week in hopes of showing that he can add value in more than one position.
Boone also mentioned recently hired Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich, as well as Andrew Velázquez, the Fordham Prep product who also has a minor league contract.
Dietrich can play second and third base, Bruce at first and Velazquez short and all can be used in the corner outfield positions.
“I feel like we have some guys with pretty good defensive versatility and flexibility,” Boone said.
– Additional reporting by Ken Davidoff