DUNEDIN, Fla. — Anthony Volpe has been a consistent presence atop the Yankees’ lineup this spring, but don’t expect the franchise’s No. 1 prospect to occupy the leadoff spot regularly whenever he cracks the big league roster.
With Volpe once again penciled in first for the Yanks’ spring contest against the Blue Jays on Saturday, Aaron Boone discussed the 21-year-old’s future presence in the order. But the manager also said that he plans on filling the one-hole with a veteran in the short term.
“His future lies in hitting at the top or the middle of the order. He controls the strike zone. Obviously a really good hitter. In his case, a really good base runner, base stealer,” Boone said of Volpe. “So I envision him as a future top or middle of the order [hitter], but I envision DJ [LeMahieu] leading off.”
LeMahieu, 34, has been the Bombers’ go-to leadoff hitter when healthy since joining the club in 2019. But the Yankees have a surplus of infielders, and they could be cautious with LeMahieu’s workload after foot/toe issues hampered the flexible infielder last season, so there will be days when someone else bats first.
Still, the current plan is for LeMahieu to be the Yankees’ regular leadoff man when he’s in the lineup.
Speaking of Volpe, Boone said that the Yankees’ shortstop battle could go down to the wire — a.k.a. the end of spring training. Volpe has been competing with fellow top prospect Oswald Peraza and, to a lesser extent, the veteran Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Peraza enjoyed a successful cup of coffee with the Yankees last season, while Kiner-Falefa recently added center field to his resume in an effort to increase his already-high level of versatility.
The Yankees also have decisions to make in the outfield and bullpen thanks to a handful of injuries. Boone said that a large group of team personnel will meet early next week to discuss the roster, and that the club plans on brining “a lot of extra guys” to Washington, D.C. for New York’s last exhibition game against the Nationals on March 28.
Boone said that Harrison Bader is “doing better than I think we anticipated” as he recovers from an oblique injury and that he’s rotating well. But the skipper added that the center fielder is not swinging yet. On Friday, Bader was seen using a red-light therapy device to treat the injury.
Carlos Rodon, meanwhile, played catch Friday. The session went well, and the Yankees’ biggest free agent splash “felt good this morning,” per Boone. The southpaw is working his way back from a forearm strain.
Reliever Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendinitis) did not throw as scheduled on Saturday; Boone said he wasn’t feeling good. Finally, catcher Jose Trevino (wrist inflammation), is expected to catch on March 21 and 23.
A KROOK-ED BULLPEN?
Boone said that Matt Krook is among those “in the mix for a bullpen role.” The lefty has had a solid spring, taking a 3.60 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 10 innings into Saturday’s contest.
Krook, 28, has never pitched in the majors after spending time with the Giants and Rays organizations. But he is on the 40-man roster, giving him a clearer logistical path than some of the non-roster invitees he’s competing against.
Barring injury, Wandy Peralta is the only southpaw that’s a lock to make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster. Krook could help in that regard, and he could also offer multiple innings at a time. Twenty-two of Krook’s 29 appearances at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre were starts in 2022. He totaled a 4.09 ERA while striking out 25.7 percent of the batters he faced.
As reported by Boston Herald
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Author: Amnon Jakony |
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