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Spring development: Soriano becoming more versatile this season

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 10, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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At no point this winter did the Yankees seriously consider using Alfonso Soriano to fill their hole at second base. That position is long gone for Soriano. Even he laughs out loud at the idea of going back there.

“No, no, no,” he said. “I don’t think so.”

But that’s not to say the Yankees aren’t willing to be creative with their most powerful right-handed hitter. A second baseman early in his career, and a left fielder in more recent years, Soriano made his first spring training start in the field by jogging to right field on Friday night. He’s also brought a first-baseman’s mitt to camp, and he plans to get some time at the position.

In 1,758 major league games, and another 230 in the minors, Soriano never played either right field or first base in a game.

“It’s a little bit different, but we are baseball players,” Soriano said. “You have to make adjustments.”

The Yankees are overflowing in the outfield, but they have no obvious backup at first base. Soriano seems like their most obvious designated hitter, but they also have plenty of veterans who need some DH time as well. The best way to utilize Soriano, who hit 34 home runs last year and surged in the second half, is to move him around. Designated hitter, left field, right field, first base; Soriano is going to be his own sort of utility man.

“It’s just having more flexibility probably more than anything else,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Since we don’t really have one DH, it allows us to DH more people if he can do that. … He’s played infield. (Using him at first base) will give us a chance to DH someone besides one of our outfielders at times. I think he’s athletic enough to do it. He’s played that side of the infield before.”

Kelly Johnson is considered a first base option, and Russ Canzler is probably going to play the position a lot in Triple-A, but Girardi said it’s “possible” that Soriano could become the true second-string first baseman.

“The most important thing is to just be in the lineup,” Soriano said. “If I’m in the lineup, now matter how — DH, play defense — I’m fine. I just want to be able to help the team. Most important for me is to just be in the lineup.”

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53 Responses to “Spring development: Soriano becoming more versatile this season”

  1. Chip March 10th, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Buster Olney has a report out that the Phillies could be a potential landing spot for Ichiro. They want a LH OF who can play all three spots.

    Given his salary and where they are relative to the luxury tax threshold, he speculates that the team would have to take back someone like Mike Adams who has a big salary and is coming off injury.

  2. Chip March 10th, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I don’t know that Sori’s more versatile, I just think the Yankees look at their roster and recognize that a) he doesn’t really have a position and b) as a guy who has moved around so much in his career they hope he can learn on the fly.

  3. Chip March 10th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Brandon Beachy left his start for Atlanta due to biceps tightness…that’s two of their five starters in two days.

  4. Chip March 10th, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    And the Cardinals are paying Diaz $2 mil/year

  5. CountryClub March 10th, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    For those that have access to it, Jim Callis is doing a Twitter chat about the Yanks farm right now.

    For example:

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 4m
    Not counting Top 10 guys, Cave & Mitchell. @Jason00Cohen: @Yankees Which hitter/pitcher do you feel is most likely to break out in 2014?

  6. UpState March 10th, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    CountryClub March 10th, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    For those that have access to it, Jim Callis is doing a Twitter chat about the Yanks farm right now.

    For example:

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 4m
    Not counting Top 10 guys, Cave & Mitchell. @Jason00Cohen: @Yankees Which hitter/pitcher do you feel is most likely to break out in 2014?
    ========================================

    Keep us updated if anythings interesting !

    THX ! (on behalf of all here)

  7. CountryClub March 10th, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Here you go UpState:

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 2m
    Good arm, so-so rec. Can be avg. @pinstripealley: How would you actually rate Gary Sanchez’s defense? Defensive ceiling? @Yankees

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 5m
    Little fast. More 2016. @Jbeck73: @Yankees considering Jagielo was a college player, outlandish to think he could be NYY 3B in 2015?

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 8m
    Don’t think he rushes b/c has some swing & miss. Jagielo faster. @Chrispirations: @Yankees how do you project Aaron Judge’s path to majors?

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 13m
    True. There’s talent in system, need better health @Jbeck73: @Yankees Seems a lot (but not all) of issues last yr had to do with injuries…

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 9m
    Could see him finishing year as RP, but not in big lgs yet. @Crewsett: Does Rafael De Paula finish the season in the NYY bullpen? @Yankees

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 1m
    Health has been biggest issue. @MrJaredMoore: Generally speaking, is the problem w/@Yankees system moreso drafting or player development?

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 2m
    Murphy, Montgomery, Ramirez, Banuelos. @Jason00Cohen: Who do you feel could actually make it to the majors in 2014? @Yankees

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 1m
    Gut feel says Austin. @westonmoore23: Out of Heathcott, Williams, Austin, Judge…who will provide the most value to the @Yankees?

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 1m
    Following up on last question, think Austin has best combination of bat & health of those four @Yankees OF prospects.

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 56s
    Started slow there, nice improvements 2nd half last yr, can be adeq to avg. @hir0kikur0da: Robert Refsnyder defensively at 2B? @Yankees

    Jim Callis ?@jimcallisMLB 34s
    Ceiling could be all-star as .280/15 HR 2B w/speed & D. Few years away, though. @mkeegan17: Projected ceiling for Katoh? @Yankees

    There’s more but that’ll give you the gist….

  8. MTU March 10th, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for doing that CC.

  9. trisha - true pinstriped blue March 10th, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    LMAO at the Loria – Henry feud!!!!! You know how it is when daddy decides that he’s going to retire and tells his ne’er do well sons that the gig is over and they’re going to have to make it on their own!

    Well Bud called in his sons, Johnny and Jeffy, and gave the word that since he was no longer going to be CEO, he couldn’t cover up for them any more (Johnny) or approve any more fire sales or lopsided deals (Jeffy). So now that they’re sitting without a safety net, they do what any good brothers do once daddy’s no longer there to smoothe their paths. They start fighting with each other. (Though rumor has it that they’ve been sniping at each other for at least a little while since Johnny realizes he’s going to actually have to be paying for real talent now that the juice fest is over, and he’s jealous that Jeffy just sells players off rather than putting revenue-sharing money back into his team!!!)

    Seems that having Bud for a daddy may have gotten them short-term gains, but now they’re up the creek without a boat or a paddle, and all the other owners are waving as they row by.

    Karma is indeed a biotch, boys!!!

    :D

  10. Revenge of Stoneburner March 10th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    MTU March 10th, 2014 at 4:09 pm
    Stones-

    I am disappointed by that Mets news.

    I would offer Phelps for Franklin.

    M’s would be nuts not to take that considering their current needs.

    ;)

    *****

    Me too. Owings is making lists re: players that are standing out to scouts – one was on ESPN. Reading stuff from other posters on other boards like Darwin Barney and Juan Francisco – not very appealing though Francisco has lefty power.

  11. Revenge of Stoneburner March 10th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Not anything really new, as Yanks have been going to cheap and/or homegrown for the pen continually and progressively for some time. Thornton was the only outside major FA and he is not even making 3 million a year:

    Yankees bullpen could feature plenty of homegrown talent this season

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....z2vbH7pQ4h

  12. j9d March 10th, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Would be great if Sori could be decent defensive BU at first. A good bat there when Tiex can’t go would be huge.

  13. MTU March 10th, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Stones-

    Absolutely zero interest in Barney.

  14. Revenge of Stoneburner March 10th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    MTU March 10th, 2014 at 6:21 pm
    Stones-

    Absolutely zero interest in Barney.

    ******

    Your post reminded me of this Seinfeld moment :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzt_AUEWIcI

  15. bbb51 March 10th, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t know why they are always talking about Soriano as the DH, I think he’s at least as good an outfielder as Beltran at this point.

  16. Hankflorida March 10th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    blake says:
    March 10, 2014 at 11:55 am
    I can’t recall any team that won a WS without a decent catcher…..yanks were crazy to think they could have done anything last year with no catcher. Glad they fixed that

    Dickey, Berra, Munson and Posada proves your point. The Yankees have never won playing two outfielders hitting less then thirty homers between them as was last year wirh Gardner and Suzuki, and let us hope that does not occur with Ellsbury and Gardner to jinx our chances this year.

  17. MTU March 10th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Move over here ——–>

  18. austinmac March 10th, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Stone,

    A great episode for certain. Who doesn’t love Portugeuse?

  19. Against All Odds March 10th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

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