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New York Yankees SS Didi Gregorius Getting Rave Reviews from Teammates

March 26th, 2015 at 6:00 PM
By Michael Guarino

The incredible defensive abilities of New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius are already earning him the type of praise that Derek Jeter never received.

Gregorius is only 25 years old, but his wizardry with the glove is distinguishing him from Jeter. The Captain took a lot of criticism from the sabermetrics community, as defensive metrics often ranked him very low among the league's shortstops. Jeter was never fazed by the criticism, although he did work on reinventing himself defensively late in his career.

Having a handful of championship rings couldn't hurt either.

Veterans around the New York Yankees clubhouse are buzzing about the young shortstop, per Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports:

“Didi is unbelievable, as good a shortstop as I’ve seen,” first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “And I’m not overexaggerating.”

The compliments continued to pour in, including from the much maligned Alex Rodriguez. PED issues aside, Rodriguez is a student of the game and was a top defensive shortstop himself for many years:

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New York Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury Must Get in Game by Tuesday to Be Ready for Season

March 26th, 2015 at 5:00 PM
By Michael Moraitis

If Jacoby Ellsbury wants to be ready for the New York Yankees Opening Day game on April 6 versus the Toronto Blue Jays, he must start playing in games by next week.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi talked about his outfielder, who is dealing with a mild oblique strain and just recently resumed baseball activities after a required week off following the injury.

After doing some drills on Thursday, Girardi would like to see Ellsbury in a game by Tuesday or else he may not be ready for Opening Day, according to George A. King III of the New York Post:

With the Yankees traveling Thursday to play the Rays, Ellsbury remained at George M. Steinbrenner Field to hit off a batting tee and participate in flip drills. Joe Girardi’s stance on the issue is if Ellsbury is able to play in an exhibition game by Tuesday, he will have enough time to get ready for April 6.

Despite his manager's pessimism, Ellsbury promotes a different tone about his status:

Yet, the Yankees leadoff hitter and center fielder believes he will be ready to play Opening Day against the Blue Jays on April 6 in The Bronx. “The way I feel right now I am very confident,’’ Ellsbury said.

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New York Yankees Release Jared Burton and His Mustache from Minor League Contract

March 26th, 2015 at 3:40 PM
By Michael Moraitis

Reliever Jared Burton sported a fantastic mustache while trying out for the New York Yankees roster, but it simply wasn't enough to get him on the team.

The Yanks have granted Burton an unconditional release from his minor-league deal, which he signed during the offseason:

Burton was vying for a spot in the bullpen this season, however an oblique injury halted his progress. With his health uncertain at the moment, the Yanks figured there simply wouldn't be enough time to get him in games and ready for the season.

The 33-year-old right-hander threw four scoreless innings for the Bronx Bombers this spring, so there should be some interest in him when he recovers from his injury. Burton last played in the majors for the Minnesota Twins in 2014, posting a 4.63 ERA in 68 performances.

Also…

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New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez Praised by MLB Commish Rob Manfred for Good Play

March 26th, 2015 at 3:00 PM
By Michael Moraitis

New York Yankees fans aren't the only ones noticing how well Alex Rodriguez is playing during spring training.

The soon-to-be 40-year-old has found the fountain of youth thus far in exhibition play, as he's sporting a .290 average with two homers and three RBI. To dispell his purported problems catching up to heaters at his advanced age, A-Rod took a 96 mph fastball from Bruce Rondon of the Detroit Tigers over the opposite field wall.

Plenty of people have noticed A-Rod's respectable showing, including Major League Baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred:

While it's just spring training baseball, Rodriguez deserves at least some acknowledgement or credit. After all, the guy just sat out an entire baseball season and is coming back looking to pick it back up in 2015.

Manfred had a big hand in ending A-Rod's 2014 season via suspension, as he was closely involved in the investigation that linked Rodriguez to Biogenesis and busted the embattled designated hitter.

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New York Yankees Reliever Chris Martin Gave Jose Pirela His 1st Concussion

March 26th, 2015 at 1:00 PM
By Michael Moraitis

New York Yankees prospect Jose Pirela suffered a concussion in an ugly collision with the wall in center field on Sunday, but that wasn't the first he has ever experienced–and ironically enough a fellow Yankee at camp gave him his first.

Chris Martin was acquired from the Colorado Rockies in January and is competing for a spot on the Yanks roster, much like Jose Pirela. It was Martin who originally gave Pirela his first concussion years back in a minor-league game.

Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog has the details:

His first concussion came on April 11, 2012 when he was playing second base and batting seventh in a Double-A game against Portland. It was the fifth inning when he was hit flush in the head by a fastball. Pirela still remembers that it was registered at 97 mph.

“I remember it clearly,” Martin said. “As soon as it hit him, he hit the ground. I was just like man, I hope he’s OK. Obviously he got up and walked off. I had no idea he had a concussion. I didn’t know who it was. I thought I actually hit Abe Almonte. I didn’t know it was him.”

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