Manny on the Mend: Manny Banuelos looks to recover from Tommy John surgery and regain his prospect status in the Yankee organization. His success means a lot to the organization, one which has not been able to produce high-end starting pitchers for a long time. The hope was for him to replace one of the leaving free agents, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, however without being able to progress in his development his use to the organization is a question mark for right now.
Corner Outfielders: Andrew Marchand of ESPN alleviates the concern of having two slap hitters, Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner, in the starting outfield. Their defense is obviously an upgrade over Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez, even if Ichiro is nearing 40 years old. Gardner's .355 and Ichiro's .365 career On Base Percentage is an upgrade over Swisher's .361 and Ibanez's .308 (last season). Ichiro led the team with 14 stolen bases in 2012 and Gardner led the league in 2011 with 49, so a lot of speed has been added to the team. Ichiro and Gardner have also scored more runs than last year's corner outfielders, so run scoring won't be a problem.
Catching Prospects: YES spotlights Yankee catching prospect Gary Sanchez and JR Murphy. While nothing new is said about them, it is nice to see footage of them behind the plate and hear about their work ethic. First baseman prospect Greg Bird even shows up to talk about Sanchez, but no one asks how Greg Bird is doing. If you strongly dislike Nancy Newman this is probably not the video for you.
PED Scandal: Here is something interesting. Lady Love's Pinstripes looks at the PED evidence against Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and others and determines that the Miami New Times might not be as credible as you would think. It might not be impossible to imagine that MNT put together this story in order to save their dying brand. A lot of the evidence points to the story being, if not a complete fabrication, than at least a massively unreliable heap of claims. Read through the evidence and decide for yourself. Is there something fishy going on?
Roster Predictions: LoHud makes a prediction for the opening day roster. Some of the predictions are bold as Brett Gardner will be the center fielder and Austin Romine will be the starting catcher. The bench will consist of Chris Stewart (Poor Cervelli), Eduardo Nunez (SS/DH), Matt Diaz, and Jayson Nix. The last rotation spot will go to Ivan Nova, while David Phelps will be in the bullpen. What are your predictions?
Important Dates: LoHud has a list of important dates to remember this spring. Pitchers and catchers report on Tuesday, position players on the 17th. February 23rd is the first spring training game, The Yankees play the Nationals in an exhibition game on March 29th. Opening Day is April 1st. Baseball is here.