Saturday turned into a busy news day for the Yankees. The morning opened with Luis Severino holding a press conference to discuss his contract extension. The afternoon will wrap up when CC Sabathia takes the dais to formally announce his retirement. There’s nice symmetry in the bookending media availabilities. A pair of Yankees aces, one at the onset of his career, the other in his twilight, celebrating their time in pinstripes from different perspectives.
In between the two conferences, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman took questions from the press. He discussed a variety of topics, from Severino’s extension (which we will cover later), to Jacoby Ellbsury’s injury, and the free agencies of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
Ellsbury to receive physical therapy at home in Arizona
Earlier this week Aaron Boone announced that Ellsbury would not report to camp on time. The outfielder, who had been recovering from labrum surgery in his hip, now is dealing with plantar fasciitis. Cashman elaborated on the situation, revealing that the 35-year-old is undergoing extensive physical therapy at his home in Arizona.
Cashman said Yankees sent an athletic trainer to AZ to visit & work with Ellsbury instead of bringing him to Tampa. Ellsbury isn’t running on flat ground yet because of the plantar fasciitis & cortisone shot. He’ll likely begin the season on IL/DL.— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) February 16, 2019
Brian Cashman says Jacoby Ellsbury is doing 6-8 hours of physical therapy every day out in Phoenix.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) February 16, 2019
Ellsbury missed the entire 2018 season due to injury. He now appears on track to start the 2019 campaign on the injured list. The fact the Yankees arranged for him to continue his rehab away from the team speaks volumes. It’s sort of sad in a way.
Cashman happy with team as is, but open to improvements
The original subheading for this section read: Area man does his job.
When asked about the roster, Cashman expressed confidence in the squad he assembled. Reporters also inquired about Harper and Machado, who still remain available on the free agent market. The Yankees GM gave a response that captured his media relations strategy to a tee.
On the one hand, a gruff rebuttal:
When Cashman was asked his thoughts on Machado and Harper still being unsigned, he said, “That’s more of a question for their representatives. I can’t speak to that.”— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) February 16, 2019
Blaming the players and their agents won’t help ease labor tensions — not one bit.
Then Cashman gave his classic non-answer. You know, the kind where he simultaneously says a lot but nothing at all.
NYY GM Brian Cashman 'wouldn’t say specifically' if he's recently engaged Machado or Harper camps, ''but I would reinforce I’m doing my job. Whether that’s those two'' or other high-profile players. ''The job...is to constantly be open to ways to make this work the best it can.''— Pete Caldera (@pcaldera) February 16, 2019
The cases for signing Harper or Machado need no further repeating. They are two of the best players in all of baseball, right in the prime of their careers. Eventually the two will sign, and the teams that add them will be all the better. Cashman said just enough to fein interest in the duo, but I wouldn’t count on the Yankees landing either of the superstars.