When the Yankees claimed Russ Canzler, they told him to focus on third base and the outfield corners. He can also play first and could DH, but a source said that Canzler can make the big league roster “a couple different ways,” as either an extra outfielder or an extra infielder.
Obviously Canzler’s basic value comes in his ability to hit from the right side, but his spot on the team probably depends on his ability to provide some defensive depth.
Another source I talked to today said he’d seen Canzler play a few different spots and didn’t think he was particularly bad anywhere. If he can be solid at third base and right field, and if he can show some pop against lefties, Canzler could be a nice addition to fill a specific role.
If Canzler can’t show those things in spring training, Dave Waldstein tweeted that Canzler does an option remaining, so he could land in Triple-A as additional depth.
• The Yankees have some interest in Lance Berkman, according to Ken Davidoff. I have to think Berkman would be a regular designated hitter, with the Yankees hoping he’s still able to fill in as an outfielder from time to time. It’s worth noting that Berkman has always been a better left-handed hitter than right-handed hitter.
• Following up on this morning’s New York Post story, Newsday is reporting that Alex Rodriguez has not suffered a setback and the Yankees have a surgery date in mind, they’re just not announcing it.
• In the same Newsday piece, Brian Cashman said once again that he is not actively looking for a starting catcher. “Our catchers are here on the roster,” Cashman said. “It was either Russell Martin or we’re going from within.”
• D.J. Mitchell cleared waivers and was sent outright to the Mariners Triple-A roster. He was half of the prospect package the Yankees gave up for Ichiro Suzuki, and he actually pitched pretty well in Triple-A last year, especially after he joined the Mariners. With David Phelps, Adam Warren and Brett Marshall on their own 40-man, the Yankees didn’t really have a spot or a need to get Mitchell back, but he’s not a bad pitcher. Could certainly get another big league opportunity.
• Just yesterday, Cleveland’s GM said that Canzler would be a candidate to be the team’s designated hitter.
• Speaking of designated hitters, Nolan Ryan has admitted that the Rangers have a standing offer to Berkman, who they want to use at DH this year. “We feel like he would fill that bill,” Ryan said. It seems uncertain whether Berkman actually wants to play this year, but it’s interesting that the Rangers are also going after him.