To picture the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, imagine a Little League complex with nicer fields and less seating. There are four fields arranged in a circle (using a clock as a reference, there’s a field between 12 and 3, another from 3 to 6, and so on). In the middle is a small building with seating up top so scouts and coordinators can keep an eye on all four fields. Mark Newman practically lives up there when minor league camp opens.
Between two of the fields — essentially at 12 o’clock — there is a bullpen with three or four mounds. Between two more fields — at 9 o’clock — there is a set of batting cages. The Yankees minor league office is in the back, behind two fields, with a clubhouse for the players.
It’s a nice complex, with everything a baseball player could possibly need, but nothing about it feels Major League. And it’s certainly not glamorous. The players who are there right now, are there to work. Nothing more. So far, three New York writers are on the scene: Erik Boland, Brian Costello and the newly arrived Anthony McCarron. There’s not a lot going on out there, but those three have it covered.
• First to arrive this morning was Dave Robertson, probably wearing high socks and some sort of camouflage. Just a guess.
• New Yankees catcher Russell Martin said he’s still not 100 percent – he’s coming back from a hip injury and minor knee surgery — but he expects to be 100 percent by Opening Day and should do some catching tomorrow.
• Martin said he still feels a need to earn the everyday job, and he’s gotten himself into good shape this offseason. He weights about 15 pounds less than last spring.
• Jesus Montero was also at the complex today. He said his goal is to break camp as the Yankees starting catcher. I don’t think it will happen, but you’ve got to love the fact Montero wants to make that kind of impression.
• Derek Jeter was back at the complex. He took some batting practice with Rob Thomson.
REMINDER: Sam and I have a video chat tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. We’ll be right here talking about the Yankees heading into spring training.
Associated Press photo of Martin (obviously not taken this morning)