Mar 14, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (22) rounds third base and scores a run the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Bronx Is Boiling: Part III

Mandatory Credit: James Keivom-N.Y. Daily News

Mandatory Credit: James Keivom-N.Y. Daily News

She’s blinding, I’m flying, right behind the rear-view mirror now. Got the feeling, power steering, pistons popping, ain’t no stopping now: PANAMA!

Sorry, Yankee fans. Got a little nostalgic with some old school Van Halen with this weekends’ trip to Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City for the Legends Series. Wasn’t it great to see Mo and Jeets together again in a presser? “He’s been my brother for so many years and he will be until the day I die,” Rivera said Saturday. Man, it felt good to hear that stuff.

Alas, all is not right with the Yankee Universe. For one, we got no-hit by the Miami Marlins. That’s like getting raisins when you went trick-or-treating… completely unacceptable. It’s also the halfway point in spring training and I am so ready for the regular season to begin and this Florida ball to be behind us. The Bronx is boiling, folks, and I need to blow some steam.

Know what to care about in spring training, people!!!

Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched prior to Sunday’s game and all of Yankeeland lost it’s mind. Derek Jeter is slumping at it’s newsworthy (trust me, I wrote the article on it!). CC is losing velocity so he must officially be done. Come on people, it’s March 16th.

First of all, the 2014 New York Yankees learned a very valuable lesson last year. We are an old team and the Major League Baseball season is eons long. There is no reason to play any of our projected starters if they have so much as a headache, especially a guy who has injury history like Ellsbury. His right calf was sore, why chance it? Now, I’m not saying we have to baby these guys. There is a large difference between babying and protecting your investment, however. We got this guy for seven years, no need to push him on March 16th.

I wrote an article earlier this week on how Derek Jeter is struggling at the plate, so I won’t go into too much detail of how ridiculous it is to concern ourselves with this. Yes, it’s true that he isn’t hitting the weight of whatever Hollywood starlet he is currently calling his girlfriend. It’s also true that he is actually playing at the shortstop position, which is what we need him to do first and foremost. We have a DH, in fact, we have a few. Jeter best serves the Yankees as an everyday shortstop, and he has been playing the field with minimal resistance from that ankle. He’s making contact 80% of the time. Oh yea, he also has 3,316 career hits. Trust me, he’ll hit come April.

Poor Carsten Charles Sabathia. The big guy has one bad year and all of a sudden he’s done. I know, I know. He’s hurled 2775.1 innings over 13 big league seasons which averages out at about 214 innings per year. I heard he’s looking ravishingly slimmed down this season. Man, you would think he was Kate Moss in pinstripes. Our ace pitcher finally gets healthy and people start worrying about how fast his pitches are coming across the plate. I repeat, CC is not only just about recovered from last year’s nagging injuries, but he is getting healthy as well. That is what spring training is for after all. Getting in shape for the real season. I don’t care that going into Sunday’s bout in Panama he had a 5.40 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP. Nor do I care that opponents are batting .268 against him. What I care about is that CC is transitioning from flame thrower to veteran pitcher. Andy Pettitte is working with him on a new pitch and in case you forgot over the last four months, Pettitte was pretty darn good. He is mastering consistency and how to place his pitches, so I could care less if his velocity is down. It’s March 16th, he’ll be okay.
(Breaking news: CC just hurled 5 innings of no-hit ball while striking out 5 in Panama. See?)

I also don’t want to hear anymore about how impressive rookies like Yangervis Solarte or Jose Pirela are going to play their way onto the roster. They are both having very good springs and Solarte is batting like they’re throwing him beach balls. But, again, it’s March 16th. So far they have been teeing off against pitchers with the number 82 rather than pitchers like Jon Lester. As the Grapefruit League games go on, and if it’s March 25th and Solarte is still batting over .500, then we can talk about it. Until then, he’s just staying in shape while our old guys get ready. Pirela and Solarte are good young players and it would be a shame to waste their time on the bench if the Yankees need them as opposed to getting their licks in the minors. Gary Sanchez was batting .364 with 2 home runss and he has already been optioned. The Yankees pay too much for their veteran players for any of these offensive rookies to have a real chance at the squad.

Things are rounding out nicely for the Yanks this spring. We don’t need to focus on who’s hitting or who’s throwing how just yet. We need to be seeing these guys perform consistently on a day-to-day basis and stay healthy. And so far that’s what’s happening. When everything else clicks, look out for the Yankees!

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