The fully Yankees squad has finally reported to Tampa for spring training. With that comes a steady stream of news and notes as workouts get underway. After a long winter of the Yankees failing to sign even one major league free agent, any news will do at this point.
First up is news that the Yankees will try Rob Refsnyder out at third base this spring. That news is significant for a couple reasons, the primary one being that the team could be giving up the illusion of Refsnyder as an everyday second baseman. Their lack of faith in him was already proven when they traded for Starlin Castro. Yes, it doesn't hurt to add versatility, and the team does need a backup at third base. Turning a prospect into somewhat of a utility player doesn't help trade value, though.
Injuries are the other big topic to come out of camp today. The most serious announcement is that Brett Gardner is still recovering from a bone bruise in his wrist that he suffered in the Wild Card game in October. Gardner battled a wrist injury last season that tanked his production, and now this injury is to the opposite wrist. He hopes to be ready for Opening Day, but wrist injuries are notoriously finicky. We could be talking about this for a while.
Another Yankee still recovering from an injury last season is Mason Williams. He is still not fully healed from his shoulder surgery, and is expected to start the season on the disabled list. It's unfortunate news for a guy who really turned his status as a prospect around with a strong showing last season.
Pete Kozma is dealing with a lower back injury that will keep him sidelined for a couple of weeks. The Yankees need to figure out some sort of backup plan at third base, and Castro may end up being that option, but this might end any chance of it being Kozma. The new Brendan Ryan-type player is very much like the old one, apparently.
On the first base front, Joe Girardi says that no one will receive "meaningful" reps at first base other than Mark Teixeira, Dustin Ackley, and Chris Parmelee. That isn't really surprising, but it does eliminate questions about any potential Alex Rodriguez experiments. Ackley will likely be the primary backup for Teixeira with Parmelee stashed at Triple-A in case of emergency.
It seems as though the Aroldis Chapman suspension is imminent, although no one really knows what length of ban he is facing. With legal proceedings still stalling the ruling for Jose Reyes, Chapman will likely end up as the first player to face suspension under MLB's new domestic violence policy. Chapman wasn't in camp today, which is the second time he has been absent this week, tending to a personal matter.
Luckily the Yankee bullpen is still in good shape, with or without Chapman. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are more than capable of holding down the fort for however long is necessary. The precedent that the Chapman suspension will set for cases to come is a more pressing matter for baseball than how his suspension will actually impact the Yankees.