And the team is fully testing that theory on Monday for Gerrit Cole’s first start against the Tigers.
The Yanks opened their spring slate with a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, and though the lineup featured many regulars, the bump featured a series of fringe roster candidates who needed to impress to stay alive.
On Monday, you can strike that and reverse it, as all eyes will be on Cole and Jameson Taillon tossing 30-pitch debuts, while most of the starting nine will give casual fans pause.
Cut to the agitators tweeting, “What was Aaron Boone thinking?!”
So many casuals, so little time. But if you’re having trouble getting excited for this on Day 2, we don’t know what to tell you.
Lineups, more importantly first pitch, most importantly baseball.
Who’s in the Yankees lineup Monday against the Detroit Tigers?
Aaron Hicks is making his first appearance of the spring in the three-hole here, while Gary Sanchez puts on the tools of ignorance for the first time after DHing in his spring opener. It didn’t necessarily go well, but it’s all part of the process.
Backups like Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade, Mike Ford and Kyle Higashioka are all familiar by now, and Higgy’s getting the same DH opportunity that Sanchez opened with on Sunday. More importantly, NRIs Derek Dietrich and Jay Bruce are getting their first opportunity, and will most likely have two at-bats a piece to show off their skills and versatility.
Even though the Yankees signed Brett Gardner at the final whistle and still roster Mike Tauchman, they’re clearly not ruling out bringing a less-redundant bat north with them. The lefty Dietrich getting the start at third base is huge; though Gio Urshela claims to be nearly 100% following offseason surgery, you never can tell until the competition begins.
Tauchman is an outfielder, and he professes to have a little backup first baseman in him if necessary. Dietrich? Well, he floats around by trade.
Of course, the men on the mound will garner most of the headlines in this one, with Taillon’s first appearance in the pinstriped pants (no tops, those have been retired until the home opener) grabbing our attention.
Savor these 30 pitches from both Cole and Taillon, and keep your fingers crossed that both men avoid coming out of the gate too amped up for competition. Save some bullets, fellas.