TAMPA, Fla. — Chad Green was the first current Yankee to speak publicly about the Astros' sign-stealing scandal, and he will not be the last.
The reliever became the first member of the 2020 Yankees to acknowledge being angry when he first heard about it. He will not be the last to admit to that emotion.
“I think that’s your initial reaction,” Green said Friday afternoon. "I think anybody would be upset about it a little bit. But you have to move forward. It’s in the past.”
Green, who spoke outside the Yankees’ minor-league complex after a workout there, echoed owner Hal Steinbrenner, who spoke through what seemed to be clenched teeth earlier in the week at the owners' meetings in Orlando.
“Let me just say, when the report came out, I was as upset as anyone,” Steinbrenner said Tuesday. “Clearly, there were direct implications to my organization, our 2017 team. But at some point, I think we all, for the sake of the game and the good of the game, need to move on. Everyone needs to make that decision, obviously, themselves, as to when that point is. Me, standing here on Feb. 5, I am moving forward, looking forward, up the hill that’s the 2020 season. That’s my focus right now.”
That is Green’s focus, too, but the topic won’t go away anytime soon and is sure to dominate the news cycle when pitchers and catchers report next week and full squads report less than a week later.
The Yankees, of course, will get as many questions as any team, having lost to the Astros in seven games in the 2017 ALCS (and in six games in the 2019 ALCS).
The recently retired CC Sabathia, in an expletive-laden rant last month during his R2C2 podcast with broadcaster Ryan Ruocco, essentially said he felt he and his teammates on the 2017 Yankees were cheated out of a World Series title.
“No way you can ever tell me . . . forever in my mind, now, we won the World Series,” Sabathia said, among other things.
Green didn’t quite go there, but he admitted the thought has crossed his mind — and will cross it again when the Yankees see the Astros, and many of the players involved in the sign-stealing scheme, across the field in the regular season.
“It’s obviously going to be tough, just knowing what could have been in '17,” Green said. “But that’s a tough game to play — what could have been, what should have happened, stuff like that . . . We haven’t honestly talked about it too much. I’ve just been around [the complex] for a few days. I think everybody’s kind of moving forward. It’s kind of in the past, for the most part. But I’m sure the conversation’s going to be brought up at some point.”
Notes & quotes: J.A. Happ, Jordan Montgomery and prospect Mike King were among the pitchers who threw simulated games Friday at the complex. According to multiple club insiders, Happ, who went a disappointing 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA last season, has looked particularly sharp and motivated in his sessions . . . Miguel Andujar took balls in leftfield Friday, as he’s done much of the offseason. With the third-base job Gio Urshela’s to lose, according to general manager Brian Cashman,Andujar is expected to see time in the outfield and at first base along with third during spring training.