I know it’s far too early to start thinking about spring training right now. The Yankees might not be completely done adding to the team (although they likely are), they have yet to settle arbitration salaries with their eligible players, and they have yet to announce their list of Non-Roster Invitees for 2017. However, for those who miss live Yankees baseball as much as I do, I wanted to look ahead at the team’s spring training schedule. When we will finally get a taste of what they might bring to the table this year.
Pitchers and catchers will report on Valentine’s Day, February 14th this year, meaning we are a week away from being a month away. Once they report, it will be another 10 days before games begin. Over that time we will hear about who will be competing for what roles, which players are in the best shape of their life, and who got fat in the offseason. Once we get a lay of the land, we’ll get to see those competitions play out, learn who will stay healthy, and how the roster eventually shakes out.
The team will host their first game on the 24th when they play the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. The following day they travel to Clearwater for a rematch while finally getting a chance to enjoy the new bus seat amenities recently won in the league’s brand new collective bargaining agreement.
The Yankees will round out February’s games with their first taste of AL East competition. On February 26th, they will face the Edwin Encarnacion-less Blue Jays, followed by the Mark Trumbo-less Orioles the day after. They won’t even face the Rays until March 7th.
On the 28th, they will experience their first split-squad game of the spring (and so far the only one scheduled) when they face the Tigers at home and travel to face the Boston Red Sox, their first meeting with the team since David Ortiz retired. Seeing as how veterans don’t usually travel, there’s a good chance that this game will be filled with the star-studded roster from Scranton’s recent championship team. Don’t worry, though, because the Red Sox will come into town on the 21st, and I imagine the Yankees will have a few more stars in the game than they had in their first meeting.
In the month of March, the Yankees stand a good chance of running into their old friend Ivan Nova when they play the Pirates in a two-game set on the 5th and 6th. As much as we’re all glad he’s gone, I’m sure that will end up being weird to see. They will also face Carlos Beltran when the Yankees travel to face the Astros on March 19th. Luckily, they don’t also have to face Andrew Miller too, since the Indians play out in Arizona.
On March 8th, they will receive an interesting visitor when Team Canada of the World Baseball Classic pays them a visit. The exhibition game will bring such All-Stars as Russell Martin and Freddie Freeman (though no Joey Votto this year), as well as promising young players like James Paxton, Jameson Taillon, and Dalton Pompey. While the game won’t mean much, it would be nice to see the Yankees do better against Canada than they did against the Dominican Republic in 2013. Robinson Cano led his team to an 8-2 victory after the Yankees offense fell completely silent. Team Canada won gold in the Pan American Games last season, so they won’t be pushovers.
They will finish out their slate of spring games with one final exhibition against the Braves, this time heading up to Atlanta (Cobb County) to play the first ever game in the new SunTrust Park. This won’t be the first time the Yankees have been asked to open up a stadium, as the Marlins brought them in to play two games at Marlins Park in 2012. There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the opening of this stadium, so I will personally be rooting for the Yankees to beat up on the Braves.
In all, the Yankees will play 35 games this spring with two off-days mixed in. They have seven games against the Phillies, five against Toronto and Detroit, four against Tampa Bay and Atlanta, three against Baltimore, two against Boston, and one game apiece against the Nationals and Astros.
It’s hard to get excited about spring training in early January, but we are all starting to prepare ourselves for it. We still have the Super Bowl and most of March Madness to get through before the regular season begins, but we will be covering the team each step of the way, from each roster move to every game recap. We hope that you will join us this spring!