TAMPA, Fla. — With a relaxed smile and an easy manner, Giancarlo Stanton arrived at the Yankees' spring training facility on Friday and proclaimed that he was looking forward to getting uncomfortable. Stepping into a new clubhouse, one in which he ...and more »
Now, with a Yankees team bursting with burgeoning stars, he will share baseball’s biggest stage with another slugger, Aaron Judge.
Even in spring training, when Judge and Stanton take batting practice (they will be paired in the same group on Monday) or when they work together in the outfield (they will both be getting experience playing left field), it figures to be appointment viewing.
“I think he’s welcoming the expectations and the largeness of what he’s walking into,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “He understands that when he first takes the field in a couple days, the attention is going to be huge, the scrutiny is going to be huge, and I think that’s something he’s prepared for the best he can.”
Boone, who had dinner with Stanton in Los Angeles and has spoken with him frequently over the last two months, broached in those conversations how Stanton will often be used in the outfield when he is not the designated hitter. The Yankees have a glut of outfielders, and catcher Gary Sanchez is also a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter.
“I’m going to work everywhere in the outfield — not center, but both corners,” Stanton said.
Stanton, who is 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, said he was looking forward to getting into the batting cages with Judge, who is 6-7 and 282 pounds. Stanton hoped that it would be beneficial to both of them to have a teammate of similar size and hitting mechanics. He also shared fans’ curiosity of what they might do together; one is likely to hit second and the other third or fourth.
Stanton, wearing a Yankees cap and workout top, spoke for about six minutes in front of his two locker stalls, which were wedged in a corner of the clubhouse between Brett Gardner and the minor league pitcher Brady Lail. It was distinctive only because of the batting tee and the eight shoeboxes that were neatly stacked.
Stanton’s teammates were also eager to get a word with him. There are few Yankees who know Stanton beyond a cursory chat over the years. Reliever David Robertson was his United States teammate during the World Baseball Classic last year.
Wade LeBlanc, trying to earn a spot in the bullpen as a nonroster invitee, played with Stanton in 2012 and 2013 and expects him to flourish with the change of scenery.
“What he ended up doing for seven or eight years in Miami, it kind of becomes Groundhog Day,” LeBlanc said. “I’m sure there’s an excitement for him.”
LeBlanc said what he appreciated most about Stanton was how levelheaded he was, saying that it was hard to know what kind of day he was having by his demeanor.
Asked if that was an important quality to have playing for the Yankees, LeBlanc said: “I think that’s a quality you have to have in New York to handle the media and be O.K. with standing in front of them when you didn’t play well.”
Stanton, though, shrugged when he was asked if there was any apprehension about playing in New York.
“The market and all that isn’t what I’ve thought about,” he said. “It’s more just getting used to a new place. That comes with it — big expectations, a bigger market — that comes with it. But just being out of my comfort zone maybe, just because I’ve done the same thing for 10 years straight: same spring training, same organization, same whatever. This is all new to me and it’s going to be a fun new ride.”
A new ride that, fun or not, is about to start.
Thairo Estrada, a top Yankees infield prospect, was shot in the hip during a robbery attempt last month in his native Venezuela, the Yankees announced Friday. The incident occurred Jan. 28. Estrada, 21, who had hoped to compete for the starting second base job, is expected to make a full recovery and could begin working out on a stationary bike next week.
Baseball,New York Yankees,Stanton Giancarlo,Judge Aaron (1992- ),Miami Marlins