I was able to watch the whole Spring Training game last night and I thought I’d drop a few thoughts about the game, mostly just about two players.
Bartolo Colon looked good. Damn good. If we’re going to go with this whole start-by-start, then as of right now, he’s clearly got a spot in the rotation locked up. Hell, if we look at the whole picture of Spring Training, then Colon definitely deserves a spot in the rotation. He’s had control of his pitches, has been striking guys out, and has been keeping the runs off of the board. He appears to be healthy. He appears ready to start the season. I know we can’t do too much based on one good stretch in Spring Training, but at this point, it’s hard to deny that Colon deserves a spot in the rotation, at least to start the season. Freddy Garcia seemed to have a hold on a rotation spot, but he’s regressed in his last few outings and may have fallen out of favor, especially considering how well Ivan Nova has performed of late. I still think they should go with Garcia and Colon with Sergio Mitre in long relief while Nova starts in Scranton, but I’m cooling on that idea a little bit.
Of course, that plan also assumes that either Colon or Garcia would leave the organization if not on the Opening Day roster. If the loser of this competition comes to some agreement with the Yankees to stay with the organization, I’d be fine with putting Nova in the rotation to start the year since a move like that wouldn’t hurt the pitching depth. I doubt that happens, though.
Brett Gardner got another look in the leadoff spot and he walked and stole a base. I mentioned this on Twitter last night: for whatever reason, I love watching Brett Gardner work walks. Maybe it’s because I see it as his best offensive skill. Maybe it’s because I think that’s what leadoff guys should do. For whatever reason, it makes me happy to see Gardner in that spot. And if Gardner is going to bat leadoff, I want to address one thing: Bunting. I know everyone says Gardner should work on his bunting since it may help him pick up a few extra infield hits over the course of the season. No. If he’s leading off, he should not be wasting pitches and outs on drag bunts. As a leadoff guy, his job is to work the count to get on base. Gardner’s not a great bunter and I don’t think it’s time to force it, especially if he’s going to be hitting in the number one spot. He has the on-base skills to work walks and the act of “forcing” him to drop down drag bunts takes away from his best skill (which also happens to be the best skill a player can have). Let’s make the refrain “Walk, Brett, walk!” not “Bunt, Brett, bunt!”
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