TAMPA, Fla. — There are legitimate questions about who will provide consistent power for the Yankees this season, but the first three exhibition games have been encouraging.
Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius surprised many by totaling 41 homers last season, with the second baseman and shortstop both reaching single-season highs (21 by Castro, 20 by Gregorius).
Gregorius homered in his first plate appearance Friday against the Phillies and Castro homered in Sunday’s 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays, a long three-run shot to left-center off lefthander Brett Oberholtzer.
“It’s encouraging,” Joe Girardi said of the early power display. “You know it’s there. We know it’s in both of them.”
Castro hit eighth and Gregorius ninth on Opening Day last season. Neither had previously demonstrated much power.
“These are still two young guys,” Girardi said, noting that both players will be 27 on Opening Day. “You just want to see them build off of last year. I don’t anticipate them hitting eighth and ninth like last year.”
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark, who used words such as “unprecedented” and “unprofessional” in discussing Yankees president Randy Le vine’s comments after the Dellin Betances arbitration hearing, declined to elaborate Sunday.
“Dellin’s focused in the season, we’re focused in on the season,” said Clark, in town as part of the MLBPA’s annual tour of spring training camps.
Making his mark
Billy McKinney, a first-round pick of the A’s whom the Yankees received from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman deal last July, homered Sunday.