TAMPA — Giancarlo Stanton didn’t drill the scoreboard like Aaron Judge did in the Yankees’ spring training opener last season.
But the newest Bomber was glad to debut with his new team after so many losing years in Miami.
“This is better,” Stanton replied when asked to compare previous spring openers with the Marlins. “Just more exciting, I’d say. It’s a spring game, but I can’t wait to see what we can do. That would be the difference.”
Stanton heard applause from the sellout crowd when he was introduced. Hitting second and playing right field, he drew an eight-pitch walk in his first at-bat and grounded into a 4-3 doubleplay with two on and nobody out in his second and final AB.
“It was just trying to get my timing out there,” said Stanton, who played four innings. “It was good. It was a good day.”
Asked if he had any nerves, the reigning NL MVP responded: “No. Once I get in-between the lines, I’m just ready to go. But it’s definitely a cool anticipation of something new and exciting.”
Asked what he wanted to accomplish in camp, Stanton responded: “Being completely ready, feeling how I would when I’m grooving in a season. It’s a little bit of everything, timing, sight.”
Stanton said he is getting well acclimated in the clubhouse. “All the guys are awesome, easy to mesh with, easy to talk to, easy to work with. So, it’s been great.”
Brandon Drury may be the favorite at third, but according to Aaron Boone, there’s no favorite at second.
“To a degree, wide-open I would say,” Boone said. “We have some talented guys.”
Gleyber Torres is expected to get a chance at second – whether that’s Opening Day or later in the year.
The 21-year-old top prospect played his first game since suffering a season-ending injury and having to undergo Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow back in mid-June. Torres wore a shirt with agent David Falk’s famous fax line regarding Michael Jordan’s return to the NBA “I’m Back” on it, but said he just liked how it looked.
Torres went 0-for-2 at the plate and avoided a scare when he had the wind knocked out of him while nearly making a diving play early on.
“I feel real happy, excited,” Torres said. “My focus is to play hard, stay focused and try to help my team win and do my job. I’m not thinking about winning the job or anything like that.”
Austin Romine and Miguel Cabrera appeared to chat for a bit before Cabrera’s first-inning at-bat with Romine behind the plate. Remember, those two got into it during the team’s brawl with the Tigers last season. But all appeared peaceful on Friday.
“I’m not going to talk about that. That was last year,” Romine said before the game. “Last year was last year. I’d like to turn the page and move on and focus on this year.”
Said Aaron Boone, who wasn’t with the Yankees at the time: “I think, on some level, baseball players never forget things. But one of our messages will always be that we’re out there to win games and compete. And turn the page on those kinds of things as best we can.”
Brandon Drury will be one of the only regulars travelling to Bradenton for Saturday’s road game against the Pirates, as he gets set to make his spring debut with the Yankees following Tuesday trade. Top prospect Estevan Florial will also make the trip. … Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner are expected to make their spring debuts on Monday at home. … The Yankees honored victims and all those affected by last week’s tragedy in Parkland, Fla. by wearing the caps of the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagles baseball team during batting practice and the game. The caps were autographed and set to be auctioned off. The team also held a moment of silence before the national anthem.
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