There is still far more unknown than known regarding the 2020 baseball season.
And the undisputed No. 1 in the unknown category, of course, is whether there actually will be a season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, there are plans for a 60-game regular season, and a three-week spring training before that, and all teams, including the Yankees, took significant steps toward that end Sunday night by submitting their 2020 player pools.
Teams can have up to 60 players in their player pools for the entirety of the season, with the Yankees submitting 58 names, none of which were surprises.
The Yankees’ pool, referred to in the club’s press release as its “Summer Camp” roster, is almost identical to the group who were in Tampa for spring training, though with some additions. Among them are infielder Matt Duffy, a former Rays third baseman who signed a minor-league deal; and catcher Max McDowell, who had been in the Brewers’ system and who also signed a minor-league deal.
The pool includes 33 pitchers, 10 infielders, nine outfielders and six catchers.
Included in the pool of pitchers are four touted prospects who could contribute in a variety of roles this season: Deivi Garcia, Mike King, Nick Nelson and Clark Schmidt. Highly rated pitching prospects Albert Abreu, Luis Medina and Miguel Yajure, though not considered as close to the majors as the aforementioned quartet, also are back in camp.
Domingo German remains on the restricted list and, because the starter has 63 games remaining on the 81-game suspension he received last September for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, is not eligible to pitch in the regular season and won’t be at camp.
Players are expected to report Wednesday and the first workout at Yankee Stadium is slated for Friday. While Major League Baseball is not expected to release the schedule for perhaps another week, elements of it have begun to leak out, such as the Yankees’ opener taking place July 23 in Washington against the defending champion Nationals.
“I honestly can’t wait to get back out there,” Aaron Judge, who arrived in New York on Saturday night, told Sports Illustrated recently. “It’s going to be an exciting year. … As a Yankee, we’ve been out there on the field every day staying in shape. I feel like other guys haven’t been as lucky to have access to a field or facility which could post problems. But I think this three-week spring training we are about to have will allow guys to get into game shape soon.”
Judge, limited to mostly conditioning in the spring because of a right rib fracture and collapsed lung, had been among the few Yankees using the facilities at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa consistently since spring training was officially suspended March 13. He and others such as Giancarlo Stanton and Luis Severino were still allowed at Steinbrenner Field even when Florida instituted a stay-at-home order April 3 (that was lifted May 4) because of their status as injured players.
After the order was lifted, players slowly began returning and a group of roughly 15 players had been showing up regularly at Steinbrenner Field – though staggered in their workout times – until June 19 when four non-playing members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19 and the facility was shut down.
“This break has allowed some of the players, including myself, to get healthy,” said Judge, who indirectly confirmed a Newsday report from last week stating he had begun swinging a bat, something he hadn’t done with much intensity since early February. “Luckily, I’ve been able to go into our facility in Tampa Bay…to work out, get on the field and run around and hit a little bit. For us, it’s kind of been business as usual and has felt like an extended spring training.”
Yankees player pool position breakdown