TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Bombers are open for business!
Pitchers and catchers are reporting to Yankees camp in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, and will work out on the field Wednesday.
There aren’t many questions about the top of the rotation, set with ace CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes.
“I’m just looking forward to getting down there and hanging out with the fellas, seeing the guys, and going on another quest to try to win the division and win another championship,” Sabathia said, according to the team’s official website.
David Phelps and Ivan Nova, who was left off the postseason roster in 2012 after a rough finish, are expected to compete for the fifth and final spot.
“I have a lot of expectations for this year,” Nova said last week. “I want to have a better year than I had last year. That’s the main thing right now.”
In the bullpen, all eyes will be on 43-year-old Mariano Rivera, who decided against retiring after suffering a season-ending tear to his right ACL last May.
The team will have 22 pitchers and three catchers from the 40-man roster at camp. According to the Yankees’ website, 19 more pitchers and five catchers also received non-roster invitations.
The situation at catcher will also be a major storyline with Russell Martin now in Pittsburgh.
The front-runner for the starting job, Francisco Cervelli, was demoted to Triple-A last spring and has been linked to an alleged PED-peddling clinic in Miami. Veteran Chris Stewart could be in the mix, but he’s more likely suited for a reserve role.
Then there’s youngster Austin Romine, who with a strong camp could make it tough for the team to ship him off to Triple-A for more seasoning.
Meanwhile, a legendary Yankees catcher will be absent from this year’s camp. The director the Yogi Berra Museum says the Hall of Fame catcher is not going to spring training with the Yankees because the 87-year-old’s travel is limited.
David Kaplan said in an email Monday that Berra’s heath was pretty good and that Berra plans on attending games at Yankee Stadium. Berra lives in New Jersey.
Berra’s name was not listed among the guest instructors for Yankees camp. Several employees at George M. Steinbrenner Field said no locker was set aside for Berra’s use.
A visible presence at spring training for many years, the popular 10-time World Series champion had more difficulty walking during camp last year.
Berra has taken several spills in the past few years. Two years ago, he fell at spring training and was taken to a hospital and released the same day. He also missed Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium in 2010 after a fall.
Who’s your pick for the No. 5 spot? Starting catcher? Be heard in the comments!
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