Good afternoon from a frigid Yankee Stadium. It is 31 degrees, I can’t move my fingers, and I am on coffee No. 3. This is Opening Day. Let’s boogie.
Here’s the first ‘pregame notes’ installment of the season, complete with updates on Bryan Mitchell and the Yankees bullpen, the physical heat of the team’s bats and why the youth movement is real.
Boy, you would have thought the Yankees’ season was to begin on Lambeau Field at 9 a.m. ET this morning. The outfield grass was covered in ice, and by the time we got down to field level at 10, there were still fragments laying around. It’s below freezing as of Noon, though it’s sunny and that ice should melt.
Girardi faced several questions about the elements, and said that the dugouts will be heated, as will the bat rack. So, when everyone goes to hit they won’t be holding a frigid hitting instrument.
Everyone was bundled up for batting practice; most wore sweatshirts, and Starlin Castro even wore a beanie-helmet combo.
Innovator Starlin Castro is wearing a beanie under his helmet. It is 29 degrees pic.twitter.com/OftvwX5BzV
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) April 5, 2016
Jose Altuve was wearing a t-shirt! That guy’s insane.
Yes, it’s day one, but there’s still news to report. Bryan Mitchell had foot surgery on Monday and will miss “at least four months.” It’s possible that either Ivan Nova or Luis Cessa slides into his role, according to Girardi. They’ll want to keep both guys stretched out, so you shouldn’t expect too many short outings from either.
Elbow problem, shmelbow problem. Girardi thinks Masahiro Tanaka is just fine, as evidenced by his stellar outing against the Mariners last June in his return from injury. Tanaka went seven, struck out nine, and allowed a run on three hits. He also stumbled down the stretch a few times last season, so who really knows what April will bring.
Today, he’ll pitch without limitations – no weather-induced pitch count.
Excited Counter: 4
Opening Day brings out the excitement in everyone, including Yankees manager Joe Girardi. He used the word four times in his pregame presser.
– The Yankees are 15-3 in home openers since 1998.
– The team will debut an honorary No. 8 patch on their sleeves to acknowledge the passing of Yogi Berra
– The average age of the Yankees’ Opening Day active roster (29 yrs, 99 days) is the youngest since 1992! That team was an average of 29 yrs, 52 days old. The youth movement is real.
– Tanaka’s spring wasn’t great, in case you weren’t keeping track. He finisher with a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings across four starts.
Lead photo: Kim Klement / USA Today Sports