The Yankees have a first baseman coming off wrist surgery, a second baseman who’s hardly played the past four years, a soon-to-be 40-year-old shortstop coming back from ankle and leg problems, and a third baseman with a total of 12 regular-season stars at the position. It’s an infield with plenty of experience, but also plenty of questions. And infield coach Mick Kelleher is the guy in charge of making sure they’re ready to play the field.
With the Yankees playing a night game in Fort Myers, let’s start the day with Kelleher’s thoughts on the way each of the Yankees infield regulars has looked this season. These are Kelleher’s words.
ON MARK TEIXEIRA
“Teixeira has looked great. He’s done a lot of early work this spring. He’s played a limited number of games, but he looks good. He feels healthy, and I think that’s the main thing. … If you’re a defensive player like he is, a wrist wouldn’t bother his defense. It would bother his hitting, but it’s not (bothering him this spring). That’s where it would be is when he was batting and trying to swing. His defense is every bit as good as it was in 2012. He’s looked great, and he’s worked extremely hard. Let’s just keep it right there.”
ON BRIAN ROBERTS
“Brian Roberts at second base has played extremely well. He’s healthy, and I think that’s the key because if he’s healthy, he’s a good player. … He’s a very good defender. He turns the double play very well. He goes left, goes right, makes all the plays. For years, he was one of the best base stealers in the league and a very good base runner, so (he can move well). He’s been healthy. The workload, he’s handled every bit of it so far. If we just keep him where he is right now, we’ll be happy.”
ON DEREK JETER
“Jeter looks real good. He’s running around. He’s moving around. He’s got no pain. We’re very happy about that. … I was curious but not worried because, if he says he’s good to go, he’s good to go. Right from Day 1, he was moving so much better than he was last year at the end. He still had plenty of arm strength. He worked extremely hard this offseason. That was good to see, first day of camp, how he was moving. And he still looks the same. … Jeet’s range is probably average range now. It used to be way better, but at 40 years old, that’s what it is. But I’ll take (that). He is so consistent, and so good, and can make all the plays.”
ON KELLY JOHNSON
“He hasn’t played much third base in his career, and what I’ve seen so far in spring training — in practice and exhibition games so far this spring — he looks fine. He’s very comfortable at the position. He’s made all the plays that we’ve had in the exhibition games, and that’s all we can go on right now. He likes the position, and he’s done real well, so I’m pleased with what he’s done. And he is too. … He’s got plenty of arm strength. He hasn’t really had to make a real powerful throw year, but real controlled throws. He’s made all the throws with accuracy, and that’s important because when you go from second base to third base, believe me, that’s a long and different throw. He’s handled it great.”
Associated Press photos