TAMPA, Fla. – When the Yankees begin their Grapefruit League season against the Red Sox on Saturday in Fort Myers, both teams will be on the clock.
Saturday’s contest will be played with the 20-second pitch clock that Major League Baseball hopes to have implemented for the 2019 regular season.
“It’s not going to affect me much,” said CC Sabathia, who is not slated to pitch Saturday. “Hopefully it can speed up the games a little bit. There’s some guys that work pretty slow. I wouldn’t want it to affect the game. Like what a guy’s doing out there, if that [the clock] affects him, I wouldn’t want that. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.”
Manager Aaron Boone isn’t concerned about his pitchers being impacted negatively by the clock.
“I think it’s going to be fine, maybe even a good thing,” Boone said. “I don’t think it’s going to affect us, frankly, that much. I think we’ll probably get to a point where we don’t even really notice it.”
Nestor Cortes Jr., a non-roster invitee who appeared in four games with Baltimore last season, will start for the Yankees. Among those who could follow: Drew Hutchinson, Danny Coulombe, Cale Coshow, Rex Brothers, Phillip Diehl, Joe Harvey and Brady Lail.
Clint Frazier, who missed most of 2018 with lingering effects of the concussion he suffered early in spring training, is scheduled to be in leftfield Saturday, then DH in Port Charlotte against the Rays on Sunday … Boone indicated that the loser of the competition between Luke Voit and Greg Bird at first base is likely to start the season in the minors …. Boone opened his news conference on Friday by paying tribute to Nick Cafardo, the longtime national baseball writer for The Boston Globe, who died of an embolism Thursday at Red Sox camp at the age of 62.