TAMPA – A year ago, Mike Tauchman was buried in the Rockies system before being awarded to the Yankees in a late spring training transaction that cost Tyler Wade a place in the big league.
Tauchman was purchased for left Phillip Diehl to improve field depth. He developed into a productive left-hander and helped cover injuries to Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks before a tense left calf ended his season in September. In 87 games, Tauchman beat .277 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs.
"I am grateful for the opportunity I got," said Tauchman on Monday morning in the Steinbrenner field, where position players reported to the camp. “Our team dealt with serious injuries last year. We won a lot of games , but at the same time it's the New York Yankees and [we are] expected to win a championship. "
If Tauchman had been healthy enough, he might have helped the Yankees overcome the Astros in last year's ALCS that they lost when Jose Altuve won the sixth home game against Aroldis Chapman.
At the very least, Tauchman would have been available to play the left field where Stanton started Game 1 after playing in just 18 regular season games, or the midfield where Hicks started the last four regular season games, after he had stopped playing on August 3 because of a right elbow problem that required surgery by Tommy John after the ALCS.
General Manager Brian Cashman said there is a chance that Tauchman may be healthy enough to be eligible for the World Series. On Monday, Tauchman said he was "very close" when asked about his chances of possibly being on the World Series list.
With third base losing Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar playing in just a dozen games last season due to an injury to his right shoulder in April that required surgery, Andujar will take a look at first base and the outfield toss.
Andujar took flying balls with Aaron Judge in the outfield of field 3 on Monday.
"We will take him outside in many different situations and positions, but we will also take into account the requirements that result," said manager Aaron Boone. “Since this is something new, we have to be aware of it. Even though he's physically in a good place, we have to make sure it stays that way. I could see him jumping around pretty early in spring training. "
YES. Happ and Masahiro Tanaka practiced live punching exercises without attracting the attention Gerrit Cole had on Sunday as the crowd on the Steinbrenner field increased and the media watched closely every move of the new Yankees ace.
Happ threw a total of 28 pitch in two innings and Tanaka 20 in one frame.
According to Boone, Tanaka is working on a cut fastball that matches a normal fastball, slider and split.
"I thought it would be spicy today," Boone said of the cutter. “The slider was a little off, but I thought it did its split and really the cutter that it focuses on. If he can build that in, I think it will be something that really opens the other half of the plate and makes a big contribution to setting up his split and slider. "
Boone represented the Yankees on Sunday at Commissioner Rob Manfred's press conference at the Braves' new spring training home in North Port, Florida. On Monday, he was asked if the Yankees would receive instructions on how MLB would change access to television monitors season after the Astros scam scandal.
"There has been a lot of talk about it, so we got a lot of thoughts, but nothing has yet been finalized," said Boone. "I think there's a negotiating element, a little bit back and forth. I understand that there will be some significant changes on the way this year. "