Pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras seems thrilled by what he’s seen from some of the young pitchers in camp. He said Andrew Brackman’s command has drastically improved since last season, Chris Garcia “can be (ready) quick if he’s healthy” and Romulo Sanchez has looked sharp in his bullpens.
“He’s like a little project of mine right now,” Contreras said.
I expected Contreras to be excited about his guys, but I will admit that I was a little surprised by his enthusiasm for Amaury Sanit, a 30-year-old Cuban right-hander who pitched only his first full season of pro ball last year.
“He’s altogether different,” Contreras said. “His first year, he didn’t know what to expect in the United States. He thought he could just do some things like he did in Cuba… He’s working hard to clean up his delivery and he’s learning how to command his fastball, because that’s what you need to do. Before he just thought he could spin it and changeup and split and drop down, but baby, that No. 1 is what counts.”
Sanit pitched for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the second half of last year, but he was kind of buried in that bullpen. Contreras said there’s no doubt he’ll return to Triple-A this season.
“He’s got pitches to pitch in the big leagues,” Contreras said. “It’s just command of the fastball. He’s come in shape and he’s working hard. He’s learning baseball here.”
A few minor league injury updates:
• Alan Horne, coming back from a variety of arm issues the past two years, is ready to pitch right now, but the Yankees haven’t decided where he’ll open the season.
• Jairo Heredia, coming back from shoulder problems, is also ready to pitch and was in Tampa before going home to the Dominican Republic because his mother is sick. Contreras expects him to be ready to open the season.
• Dellin Betances, coming back from elbow surgery, will begin throwing off a half mound either this week or next week.
• George Kontos, coming back from Tommy John, will be ready to throw off a half mound in March when minor league camp opens.
The picture is of three pitchers likely to open in Triple-A: Ivan Nova, Kevin Whelan and Zach McAllister.