TAMPA, Fla. — If this had been a typical six-week spring training, the Yankees would have extended an invitation to camp to shortstop Anthony Volpe, something the club does with some of its top prospects.
The desire, of course, is to give those players a taste of big-league camp and expose them to all that comes with it.
But that doesn’t mean Volpe won’t have a role this spring. He very much will, a process that will start Friday. Volpe, 20, is on the travel squad scheduled to head to Bradenton, Florida, for the Yankees’ Grapefruit League opener against the Pirates.
He’s not officially a part of major league camp, basically eligible to play in games but not to do drills with the big-leaguers. "You’ll see him a good bit over here [for games]," Aaron Boone said.
Volpe and pretty much all of the Yankees’ minor-leaguers have been in their own version of spring training at the nearby minor-league complex since mid-February.
"He’s definitely someone that I’m looking forward to getting over here and gaining some experience with these guys and being around these guys a little bit," Boone said. "And obviously, we’re excited about his future."
A noticeably slimmer-looking CC Sabathia, who retired after the 2019 season, arrived in camp Thursday as a guest instructor. He spent most of his time around pitchers, first watching Chad Green’s bullpen session and then watching the simulated games thrown by Jordan Montgomery, Nestor Cortes, Lucas Luetge and Wandy Peralta.
Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo, in camp for the first day after his signing became official, hit back-to-back homers off Cortes during his simulated game. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were among the front-line hitters participating in the simulated games. That has been the case much of the week as, with the condensed spring training, getting as many live at-bats as possible has been a priority.
Speaking of Monty
Montgomery, coming off a 2021 season in which he went 6-7 but had a 3.83 ERA in 30 starts (he received the worst run support of any Yankees starter), is likely to slot into the rotation as the third or fourth starter, depending on how the Yankees want to line up righties Jameson Taillon and Luis Severino behind righty ace Gerrit Cole.
"The one thing about Monty’s career to this point is he’s been very consistent where I feel like he’s made some significant strides each and every year," Boone said. "I think he’s gaining that next level of experience where not only is he refining the stuff that he has . . . but just having that even a little bit more confidence that goes with being a veteran pitcher that’s had some success and also being a guy that, athletically and physically speaking, is in the prime of his career."