The Yankees are nearing a deal with Andruw Jones

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Yahoo!’s Tim Brown tweets that the Yankees are nearing a one-year deal with Andruw Jones.  This after a weekend of reports that had the Yankees interested at one turn and balking at the next. Could go either way, really, but there’s a feeling of two steps forward, one step back to all of this, and that the Yankees are shuffling towards having Jones as their designated lefty-masher. He mashed to the tune of .256/.373./.558 against southpaws last year.

Overall he hit  .230/.341/.486 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI for the White Sox last season. That’s good, but it’s not enough to get him a full-time look at the DH position with the Bombers thanks to Jorge Posada filling the slot.  But between platooning at the corners, days off and injuries, you figure that New York can use Jones about as much as he should be used.  Anything more and they’re probably pushing him past his limits.

 

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉