The New York Yankees will open their exhibition schedule today against the Philadelphia Phillies as Spring Training moves into its next phase. Here is a breakdown of what to look for as you watch Yankee games during the next month, or simply read about the goings-on with the Bronx Bombers.
Starting Pitching: The fourth and fifth slots in the rotation are up for grabs. Veteran Freddy Gsrcia and youngster Ivan Nova are the favorites, but Bartolo Colon and Sergio Mitre will also get looks. Youngsters Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman will likely see some action, but are not right now being considered for spots on the Opening Day roster. Oh, and it would be nice to see some signs that new pitching coach Larry Rothschild is getting through to veteran A.J. Burnett.
Bullpen: Not much competition here, the spots are pretty much locked down. It will be interesting to see how well Joba Chamberlain throws the ball after a disappointing 2010 season.
Backup Infielders: Four players are battling for two infield spots — Ramiro Pena, Eduardo Nunez, Ronnie Belliard and Eric Chavez.
Backup Outfielder: Greg Golson, Colin Curtis, Justin Maxwell and Kevin Russo are likely fighting for one spot.
Backup Catcher: Francisco Cervelli should be the backup to Russell Martin. It will be interesting, though, to see what highly-touted youngster Jesus Montero looks like behind the plate. If he looks like he can be adequate behind the plate I don’t think it would surprise anyone if Montero makes his way to the Bronx sometime this season.