It has been a few days since we here at SB Nation New York have provided you with any updates from New York Yankees' Spring Training. In an effort to fix this egregious trangression, today we offer you the ABCs of Yankees Spring Training. Hopefully, it will include everything you need to know to be up-to-date on what is going on down in Tampa as the Yankees prepare for the 2011 season.
Oh, and please pardon us if we skip a letter or two or if we reach just a tad to associate someone or something with a specific letter. It's the thought -- and the information -- that counts.
A is for ... A.J. Burnett. Burnett, of course, was awful (another A-word) in 2010. As he tries to bounce back from his 10-15, 5.26 ERA awful-ness, he is getting lots of attention (A-word alert) this spring. So far, so good as Burnett has used slightly altered mechanics to pitch five shutout innings over two starts thus far. Monday against Philadelphia Burnett pitched three perfect innings. It is only five innings at the beginning of the spring, but the start is a good sign for the Yankees. They need a quality season from Burnett.
B is for ... The Killer B's, The Baby B's or just plain old Banuelos, Betances and Brackman. According to minor-league experts the Yankees are rich in young pitching, and Manuel Banuelos (20 next week), Dellin Betances (23 this month) and Andrew Brackman (25) are the crown jewels among the pitching prodigies. Banuelos has drawn raves with five strikeouts in three shutout innings. Betances has a 3.38 ERA in 2.2 innings, striking out five and impressing with his stuff. Brackman, who might be the closest to the big leagues, pitched a scoreless inning today in his first appearance of the spring.
C is for ... Chamberlain. Joba Chamberlain is always news. Lately, the story has been whether or not the Yankees would trade him to Minnesota for starting pitcher Francisco Liriano.
D is for ... Diaz. Cameron Diaz, that is. Alex Rodriguez's lovely lady friend has been spotted in attendance for at least one Yankees Spring Training game. No popcorn incidents, though. Hey, I told you we might have to work a little bit to fill all these letters.
E is for ... Eric Chavez. Chavez is a veteran third baseman from Oakland trying to make the Yankees as a reserve third baseman/first baseman. He is off to a great start with eight hits in 17 at-bats (.471).
F is for ... Francisco's Foot. As in the broken left foot suffered by backup catcher Francisco Cervelli. He will be out for about two months after fouling a ball off his foot, possibly opening the door for highly-touted Jesus Montero to make the Opening Day roster.
G is for ... Gardner, Granderson and Garcia. Brett Gardner is working on a revamped swing, and might supplant Derek Jeter as the Yankees leadoff hitter. Curtis Granderson is trying to build on his impressive finish to the 2010 season, and has two home runs and a .357 average so far this spring. Freddy Garcia pitched three scoreless innings Tuesday, and has now pitched five scoreless innings in his bid to earn one of the two available starting spots in the rotation. It would be a stunner if he doesn't get one.
H is for ... Hank Steinbrenner. Mostly because, well, H has to be for something. Hank doesn't do anything important with the Yankees -- since Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have smartly taken all the authority -- but he can still talk. And he does. And he continues to sound like a dumbbell.
I is for ... Ivan Nova. The young right-hander is bidding for one of the remaining spots in the Yankees starting rotation, and he is off to a good start. He he pitched five shutout innings in two appearances, giving up just three hits and not allowing a walk.
J is for ... Jeter. It has to be for the Yankee Captain Derek Jeter. Just 74 hits away from 3,000 for his career and coming off the worst season of his career, Jeter is working on a re-tooled swing. So far it seems to be working as he has six hits in 17 at-bats (.353).
K is for ... Austin Krum. Why? Well, because he is the only player in camp with a last name beginning with a 'K.' Oh, and he wears one of those cool Spring Training only numbers, No. 96.
L is for ... Liriano. As in, how soon does Minnesota Twins ace Francisco Liriano become a Yankee? Everybody with any say in this is denying that there is any discussion going on about a deal for the left-hander happening, which most likely means there is discussion about a deal for the left-hander going on. Minnesota would be silly to make a deal unless the Yankees parted with one of their top prospects, and I don't see that as likely.
M is for ... Martin and Montero. The new Yankee catcher is free-agent Russell Martin. He is off to a slow start this spring, hitting just .125 as he slowly rounds into shape after offseason knee surgery. The soon-to-be catcher could be the crown jewel of the farm system, Jesus Montero. And Montero's time could be now, with an opening on the roster due to Cervelli's injury. I can't imagine Montero making the team and hardly playing.
N is for ... Nick Swisher. I have to ask. Nick, what were you thinking leaping over a foul-territory railing to catch a fly ball in a Spring Training game?
O is for ... Bartolo Colon. Because the pudgy old dude has sooooo many O's in his name and we have to talk about him somewhere. Bidding for a return to the big leagues after not pitching since mid-way through 2009, Colon has look pretty good thus far. In five innings he has allowed just one run on four hits while striking out five.
P is for ... Posada. Veteran Jorge Posada is adjusting to life as a designated hitter. The long-time Yankee catcher will apparently not catch at all this spring, even after Cervelli's injury. Posada is saying all the right things about being a DH, but you know he would like to catch -- at least a little bit.
Q is for ... I really have no idea. When you guys come up with one, let me know.
R is for ... Robertson. David Robertson is flying under the radar during Spring Training, but the righty reliever has five strikeouts in 2.1 innings and has allowed just one hit. Hey, Dave, bottle it for a few weeks and save it, please.
S is for ... Soriano. As in, when will free-agent relief pitcher Rafael Soriano finally pitch in a Spring Training game?
T is for ... Teixeira. Mark Teixeira is doing all sort of extra work this spring, especially hitting left-handed, in an effort to avoid another painfully slow start to his season.
U is for ... Utility Infielder. We talked about Chavez looking likely to win one of the two utility spots. The other one looks like a competition between Eduardo Nunez (.348 thus far) and incumbent Ramiro Pena (.158).
V is for ... Jorge Vazquez. This young utility infielder can hit (.444 thus far this spring), but has no real shot at making the Opening Day roster. There are way too many players in front of him.
W is for Wins. Do they matter in Spring Training? This could also be for Eric Wordekemper, but do we really have to go there.
X is for ... Justin Maxwell. Hey, it's weak. But, the dude has an 'x' in his name and it had to be for something.
Y is for ... Sorry, gang, I've got nothing here. Except to ask why is Brian Anderson, a former big-league outfielder, bothering to try and become a pitcher? His 21.60 ERA indicates it isn't going very well.
Z is for ... Zambrano. During the offseason some folks thought it would be a good idea for the Yankees to pursue Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs. Please, let's not go there.