The Yankees are seeing plenty of their expected bitter rival Blue Jays this spring. Saturday’s instance will feature the second appearance of Michael King, who began 2021 as an iffy starter and ended it as a lockdown member of the bullpen. He should play a big role in 2022, especially with plenty of questions regarding how deep into games Yankees starters not named Gerrit Cole will be able to go at the start of the season and beyond. King pitched two scoreless innings against the Phillies in his first appearance.
King will match up against Alek Manoah, who made his MLB debut last May against the Yankees, earning the win. He posted an impressive 3.20 ERA in 2021, earning him a rotation slot to start the season. Manoah features a four-seam fastball that can reach the upper 90s, as well as a sinker, changeup, and slider.
Aaron Judge is batting leadoff for the Yankees and, interestingly, playing center field while Aaron Hicks is the DH. Judge has filled in admirably in center field in the past, but the team seems reticent to play him there too often, likely out of concern for his legs. Getting spring innings in center might suggest the Yankees are giving stronger consideration to Judge playing center when Hicks is out.
Giancarlo Stanton is playing right field in Judge’s stead. Stanton has been vocal about wanting to play the field more, and his spring innings hopefully mean that Aaron Boone is indeed going to oblige more often in 2022. Josh Donaldson, Joey Gallo, DJ LeMahieu, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa are other starters playing.
Toronto will start many of the key features of their high-powered offense, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and new addition Matt Chapman. Old friend Greg Bird, who signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays, also might appear off the bench.
How to watch:
Location: George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Florida
First pitch: 1:05 p.m. ET
TV broadcast: YES, SNET
Radio broadcast: WFAN, SN90
Online stream: MLB.tv
Saturday Squad— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 26, 2022
2022 Yankees Spring Training is Presented By Visit Tampa Bay. pic.twitter.com/FcJIznhXjZ