Yankees pitchers and catchers officially reported to spring training today, which truly kicks off the beginning of baseball's return after an exceptionally long winter. Here are a few of the highlights to come out of camp from today, including updates on Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova, Yoan Moncada, and new rule changes.
1. Joe Girardi's "State of the Yankees" address - Andrew recapped this for you already, which you can read by clicking right here if you missed it.
2. The Yankees held a third private workout for Yoan Moncada yesterday at their minor league complex. Hank Steinbrenner was among those in attendance, and it is expected that it will be the last private workout held before Moncada signs with a team. Ben Badler of Baseball America says Moncada is expected to sign at some point next week.
Even though George King of the New York Post claims that the Yankees are only interested if the price on Moncada comes down to a more reasonable level, their actions certainly say otherwise. Dragging Hank out of hiding to have him watch a workout and having Moncada work out at their facilities two days in a row doesn't seem anything like casual interest, or only keeping interest in case the landscape changes. They seem all in to me.
3. MLB's pace of play rule changes will be in effect for the 2015 season. Among the changes, batters will have to keep one foot in the batter's box unless an exception occurs, a pitcher will need to be ready to deliver a pitch once the game returns from commercial break, and managers will have to challenge calls while remaining in the dugout. Managers will also be able to retain their challenge after every call that is overturned instead of only after the first overturned call.
The penalty for violation of these new rules will come in the form of fines instead of game penalties, like a ball or strike being issued. A strict pitch clock that has been experimented with in the Arizona Fall League and will be implemented in some MiLB stadiums this season is not among the changes that will be happening at the big league level this season, but it seems like that's the direction this is headed.
4. Good news about the status of Ivan Nova's recovery:
Ivan Nova has progressed very well from his Tommy John surgery. Will probably be an option for the Yankees relatively early in the season.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 20, 2015
Spring training number mania!
The cool kids have the really high uniform numbers in Yankees camp this year: Severino 91, Bird 95, Refsnyder 98, Judge 99— Lohud Yankees Blog (@LoHudYankees) February 20, 2015
Tanaka said he's confident he can get through the season. Threw splits during yesterday's pen and felt good. Next bullpen Sunday.— Lohud Yankees Blog (@LoHudYankees) February 20, 2015