Productive Spring Training May Help Meet Expectations

Fresh cut grass, flowers blooming and chalk outlining a diamond are some of the reasons everyone loves spring, especially baseball fans. Spring training is here, and Yankee fans have a lot to look forward to. New faces and a clean slate of a brand new season is all die hard fans could ask for.

The Yankees, and many of their fans, plan on having a much better season this year, and spring training is the place to start. The Yankees seem to be concentrating on pitching this year, which seemed to become an Achilles' heel for the New York team.

Masahiro Tanaka is one big player the Yankees acquired during the off-season, and along with the new name to the roster came new experiences for the Japan native. Tanaka, a right-handed pitcher, had his first spring training start as a Yankee on March 6 in Philadelphia.

The rain was new to him, considering all the fields in Japan are under a dome, so rain delays are something he has never encountered.

"It was a good practice for me to experience what I experienced," Tanaka said to the media, through an interpreter. As of right now, Tanaka has a pitching average of .211 for spring training.

He did give up his first home run and two hits in three innings in a 4-3 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ramapo junior Kristen Shea feels Tanaka is an important addition to the pitching roster.

"Their starters were kind of lacking last year, so he's going to be a big help," she said.

Dellin Betances also had a good pitching day, which led to a 3-3 tie against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 9. He said he threw a pitch that he did not even know how to describe. 

"My slider is like a slurve," said Betances to the media. "I don't know what to call it."

He has a pitching average of .091 for spring training.

Another famous name the Yankees picked up in the off-season is Carlos Beltran, a left fielder who previously played for the Saint Louis Cardinals.

"So many people wanted him, and the Yankees were just lucky to get him," said Shea. "He's definitely going to be a huge help with hitting and fielding."

Beltran hit his first home run in pinstripes in a 8-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 2, and has a batting average of .125 for spring training.

Some of the main focus for many Yankee fans has been the last spring training for fan-favorite, Derek Jeter, who announced his impending retirement early in the year. Jeter, who has been a Yankee for every season of his 19-year career, was hitless in his first spring training game. Jeter told the media he was just rusty and will progress throughout the season, which is a huge sigh of relief for Yankee fans. 

The Yankees are looking pretty well off so far in spring training with a record of 6-2-1. Their 25-man roster seems to be set in all but two places: pitching and the last infield spot between Eduardo Nunez and Scott Sizemore.