Yankees general manager Brian Cashman held a Zoom call to discuss Yankees updates.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had his first press conference since the original spring training. Given that it had been over three months since Cashman talked baseball, there were many questions about the state of the team and some of the injuries sustained throughout the offseason and spring training.
With several players also opting out of the 2020 season, Cashman touched on that in case of some Yankees players, and how the Yankees will mimic real game situations in Summer Camp.
Here are six main takeaways from Brian Cashman’s Zoom press conference from Tuesday afternoon:
Aaron Judge should be good to go
Aaron Judge seemed all set to play during the original spring training until he had pain in his shoulder and chest. It turned out it was a stress fracture in his rib he suffered from a diving play in September. He also had a collapsed lung, but that has since fully healed.
But Cashman said he is “optimistic” that Judge will be ready for July 23, although there is “no guarantee,” according to Sweeny Murti.
Judge had an oblique strain last year and missed 60 games. The year prior, he was hit by a pitch that broke his wrist.
No Yankee has opted out of the season as of now.
According to NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty, not everyone will be at camp by the start date due to travel concerns, Brian Cashman informed the media that all 58 players intend to be in camp at some point. Several players, including Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross, and Mike Leake have opted to skip the 2020 season for health and safety reasons amongst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who are deemed high-risk and opt-out will receive full pay and service time for 2020, but non-high-risk players who opt-out will not.
James Paxton is ready
James Paxton underwent surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst in his lower back in early February. He was originally slated to recover in three to four months after the surgery. So, all seems right with the left-hander.
Paxton went 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA in his first year in pinstripes last season and had a 2.51 ERA in his final 11 starts, where opponents hit .177 against him. He also tossed six innings of one-run ball to save the Yankee’s season by a day in Game 5 of the ALCS.
Aaron Hicks is close
Aaron Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after the Yankees’ season ended. Hicks had elbow issues prior to playing in the postseason, and he only played in 59 regular-season games last year. Hicks seems to be on a similar timetable as former Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius, who underwent Tommy John after the 2018 season and returned in June of last year.
Hicks signed a seven-year, $70 million contract just before Opening Day last season.
“I’m sure he thinks he’ll be game-ready by Opening Day, and I think that’s possible,” Cashman said, according to The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler.
Giancarlo Stanton is kind of up in the air
The good news is that Giancarlo Stanton could be the team’s designated hitter on Opening Day. The bad news is it doesn’t seem he is close to ready to play the outfield, nor is him DH’ing as close to a done deal as Yankee fans want it to be. Stanton strained his right calf in February.
“I think if you’re shooting for the DH role,” said Cashman, according to Adler, “he could be game-ready.”
Cashman’s choice of words in optimism rang higher with Judge, Paxton, and Hicks than Stanton, who missed all but 18 games last year.
Subway Series exhibition games?
Yep, it’s possible. According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Yankees want to get some real-life game reps, and Cashman mentioned exhibition games against their crosstown rivals are a possibility.
While most New Yorkers are doing everything they can to avoid the subway, the stadiums are just nine miles apart.