Easy to forget just how quiet things get these last few days immediately before pitchers and catchers show up. Anthony McCarron and a few others are pulling sidewalk duty in Tampa — charting Derek Jeter’s BP swings and trying to identify people who are dressed identically and standing some 400 feet away — but otherwise, this is the real quiet before the storm. There’s still some intrigue because of the unusual number of impact players still available, but indications are that the Yankees are unlikely to sign any of them. So, we’re left with the quiet. Here are a few notes and links to have on your radar.
· Nice story from David Waldstein in the New York Times about the significance of all the Japanese players on the Yankees roster. Masahiro Tanaka obviously stands out, but Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki are still huge names in Japan, and if Yoshinori Tateyama makes the team as a right-handed reliever, the Yankees could be the first Major League team to have four Japanese players on its Opening Day roster.
· Looking in another part of the world, Andrew Marchand profiled the emergence of young Yankees pitching prospect Luis Severino, who’s popped up on some of these Top 10 Yankees prospects lists in the past month or so. His fastball has jumped in velocity, and he’s starting to look like a guy with high-end potential. Amazing how young and unproven some of these guys are when they sign out of Latin American countries. Takes a few years to have a great sense of how good they might be.
· David Phelps gave some rave reviews about Jeter’s workouts at the minor league complex. “You can tell he’s determined to go out there and do well,” Phelps told the Daily News. “If you had to place a bet on it, you know he’s going to go out there and have a good year. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play again. He’s having a lot of fun right now.”
· Speaking of Phelps, he’s looking a little shaggy. Might have to get that hair cut before the official report day. And stop smuggling bananas!
· One last comment from David Cone during last night’s Munson Awards Dinner. He was asked about the possibility of Alex Rodriguez showing up in spring training, and Cone tried to answer delicately. “I would not advise that at this point if I had a say in the matter,” Cone said. “I don’t think that’s probably the best thing to do at this point. Judging by his last comments that he’s looking forward to a year off, maybe he thinks so too.”
Associated Press photo