Yankee Spring Training Thoughts…..

joba1.jpgHowdy y’all… Unlike Kyle Kendrick I did not get traded to Japan… It has just been a while for a blog post… But I’m back baby…

Since Spring Training has finally kicked off with enough of the Andy Pettitte circus its time for some real baseball issues… Who would’ve thunk A-Rod would come to camp after signing a record contract and even Mr. Publicity is on the backburner….

Never the less here are 5 Pressing Story-Lines to keep an eye for the Yankees in the Grapefruit League…

1. To start or not to start… That is thy question… Everyone around Yankee camp is wondering… How exactly is the Joba Chamberlain plan for 2008 going to pan out. Even though the Yankees claim they will be starting him in the bullpen for 2008, I wouldn’t say that is a forgone conclusion, especially if a starter goes down early in Spring Training. If all pans out with the Yankees starters, the Yanks would be wise to keep the phenomenal kid in the bullpen to set up Mariano Rivera. What the Yankees will do… Only time will tell.

2. Who’s on 1st…. With the Yankees committed to keeping Melky Cabrera in Centerfield. Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi will compete for the LF and DH positions in the lineup. However Giambi will be seeing some time at first, but due to his putrid defense the question remains who will be seeing that playing time. The Yankees have Shelly Duncan who did a stupendous job coming up in July… However is he the answer every day as the first basemen. The Yankees also have brought veterans Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane to camp. My hunch Duncan will be the Yankees every day first basemen with Giambi playing part time as well.philandian.jpg

3. The Kids are all right…. The Yankees in a very un-Yankee like fashion passed up on the Johan Santana deal and decided to stick with Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy for 2008 and beyond. The Yankees are counting on these two starters to do a stand up job for them. The question is… Will they? They are highly touted and showed flashes of brilliance last season. However can they handle it for a full season. Look to see if they struggle early on in camp if the Yankees push Joba Chamberlain faster in the rotation plan.

4. Hit me baby one more time… For veterans Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina anmoose.jpgd Andy Pettitte this could be their final go around in pinstripes. Do Giambi and Mussina have enough left in the tank to give solid respectable seasons. Mussina will be counted on to improve upon a 5 era, and Giambi will counted on to hit 20-25 homeruns if he can manage to stay healthy. And now onto Pettitte, I would not throw him into the mix. However, due to the HGH saga, the question remains is Andy mentally ready for 2008. Don’t be surprised if this is Andy’s Final go around just due to all of the stress this season may bring.

5. New Cup joeyg.jpgof Joe… For the first time since the 1995 season… Joe Torre is not the Skipper at Legends Field in Tampa Florida. Girardi the vibrant, new manager will bring a different style and intensity to Spring Training as opposed to the laid back Torre. After all Mike Mussina said, “this is more running then all of last season” when referring to a tough opening workout under Girardi. Although Girardi will look to push buttons differently then Mr. Torre, as a new manager following a legend, Joey G will make sure he earns the respect of his veterans early in camp…

Well Folks… The Countdown is now at… 41 Days till Opening Day 2008…

Be good everybody…. Stay Tuned for my MLB Spring Training Burning Issues…

JJ

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