By Rich Mancuso/ thenyextra.com
“That’s the intent we are going to find out”
Yankees GM Brian Cashman is optimistic about finishing a 60-game season and that quote is the intent to do so after speaking with the media on a Tuesday afternoon conference call But as the Yankees and other Major League teams gather again for Summer spring training there is some pessimism.
COVID-19 cases are increasing around the country, a rate that has surpassed that first wave in February as baseball attempts to make a comeback. So there is room here for pessimism.
Testing for players that are reporting is expected to reveal more positive coronavirus results and to what direction this is going for baseball. Players are opting out and more of that could be expected.
Cashman, though, as with other GM’s around the game are optimistic even as many states that are home to baseball are seeing a rapid increase and all-time high of positive tests to COVID-19. This includes six teams on the west coast, two in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio the others.
So as the Yankees report back to work in the Bronx this week, and with uncertainty as to where this truncated season is headed, MLB and 29 other teams are taking this day-to-day.
It is getting back to business with a projected Opening Day day in prime time for the Yankees against the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals, July 23, and the first start for Geritt Cole.
The Yankees’ have scheduled their first workout Friday or Saturday in the Bronx and others on the taxi squad will train in Moosic Pa. home of the RailRaiders, their Triple-A affiliate.
“I am real thankful we are getting an opportunity to try,” Cashman said.
He expected no players to opt out. Under an agreement with owners a player who is determined to be high risk can opt out and receive service time and salary for 2020.
Not the case with the Yankees. They are expected to begin on time.
Unless, of course with negative results, as coronavirus testing is conducted twice a day, the Yankees should be at full strength and a favorite to win the World Series in a season that has uncharted territory all over it and a championship that could get an asterisk.
Cashman does not expect any setbacks over the next three weeks. James Paxton (lower back surgery), Aaron Hicks (Tommy John surgery) ,and Giancarlo Stanton are expected to be healthy and ready to go. The advantage of the baseball hiatus since mid- March are players that were not expected to be ready in April are recovered and set for the late July start.
Stanton, out since late February with right calf strain has not done outfield drills as of yet. So, as Cashman hinted, Stanton will be used primarily in the universal DH spot.
Yes, baseball is unified with a designated hitter and that appears to remain in place in the years ahead.
A source said, the Yankees, as a team were all in favor of getting back to work. Another source, with inside information about owners and their position of resuming, said the Yankees hierarchy were major advocates of going along with a 60-game season that was implemented by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
Aaron Judge, the original plan was for a return to July, and the slugger has started to swing a bat and is being monitored after sustaining a fractured right rib.
It is starting all over for the Yankees. Yet, as the COVID-19 crisis continued and as players returned to their homes, some remaining in the Tampa Florida area, they continued their work and waited for the call to return.
Cashman does expect players that are not in the country to be delayed. Because of restrictions and concerns about the coronavirus, that could affect quite a few on the roster that are in latin America.
Regardless, and upon further word, the Yankees are beginning to proceed and following all the medical protocols set forth by MLB.
They say this is now a sprint and not a marathon, The Yankees are ready for the sprint. But remember what Cashman said about that intent.
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