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Aaron Boone discusses Yankees spring training, Jacoby Ellsbury injury, and more

The Yankees had no shortage of news on the first official day of spring training.

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 season officially began today for the Yankees, as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. The nightmarishly long offseason came to an end, and all eyes focused on the year ahead.

With the opening of camp came a flurry of activities, including Aaron Boone’s annual press conference. He gave an overview of the team and provided a bevy of injury updates. Here’s a quick rundown of the day’s news:

Boone says Yankees “have tremendous expectations”

The Yankees manager sat down for about 30 minutes to discuss the state of the team as spring training opens. He touched on several topics in particular, but a consistent theme ran through the session. The Bombers, he said, have all the pieces and skills in place. Now they have to win.

This segment captures it nicely:

“I feel like, again on paper, our rotation and even our bullpen, feels a little bit stronger as we sit here today. But, when I say I hope so, it’s that we’re sitting here and it’s early February. So, you know, in a lot of ways the talk about it is cheap. We have tremendous expectations, and I think we rightfully have those expectations, but now we gotta go out and do it.”

Throughout the conference, Boone expressed confidence in Miguel Andujar at third base and Gary Sanchez at catcher. “I’ve spent some time with him this offseason,” Boone said of Sanchez. “I went down to the Dominican, spent some time. And the conversations I had from him, I feel like it’s a young player who’s another year along, another year mature, and a guy that frankly is very hungry to go out and show the world how good a player he is.”

Elsewhere Boone discussed the first base job, which will consist of a competition between Luke Voit and Greg Bird. While Voit won’t be handed the starting job, he appears to have the advantage right now. Additionally, the manager talked about Troy Tulowitzki and how extensively the team scouted the shortstop before signing him last month.

The whole conference is full of interesting bits of information and well worth the watch.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike King open camp with injuries

It wouldn’t be a first day of spring training press conference without some injury updates, right? Boone got things started by announcing that Ellsbury won’t join the Yankees for another month or so. The outfielder suffered a setback while rehabbing plantar fasciitis.

The 35-year-old missed the entirety of the 2018 season with a litany of injuries. He last played in 2017, when he hit .264/.348/.402 with seven home runs (101 wRC+). Ellsbury found his name in trade rumors this offseason, but if he’s not healthy, expect the Yankees to keep him on the injured list and recoup some insurance money.

Additionally, pitching prospect Mike King has been shut down for the time being after experiencing elbow discomfort. A MRI revealed a stress reaction. He will undergo another exam in three weeks.

King, 23, joined the Yankees in a small trade with the Marlins prior to the 2018 season. He rapidly ascended through the system last year, climbing from High-A Tampa all the way to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The right-hander pitched to a 1.79 ERA (2.76 FIP) over 161.1 innings. Baseball Porspectus ranked him the team’s number seven prospect.

In positive news, Boone revealed that Didi Gregorius’ rehab is going according to plan. The shortstop underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2018 season. “He’s in really good shape and progressing the way he should be,” Boone remarked. “So we’re optimistic that he’s going to play hopefully a significant amount of the season for us.”