Aroldis Chapman (l.) and Dellin Betances (r.) begin throwing bullpen sessions on Saturday.
TAMPA – The Yankees will get their first look at their three-headed bullpen monster Saturday when Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances all throw bullpen sessions – and Joe Girardi is eager for his first close-up view of Chapman’s heat.
“I’m glad I never faced 105 (miles per hour),” Girardi said, referring to Chapman’s top speed.
Meanwhile, Chapman’s potential discipline under MLB’s domestic violence policy continued to be a topic of conversation at camp. Asked about the decision, GM Brian Cashman said, “There’s a process that’s in place and it’s going to play out. MLB is going to complete their investigation at some point and they’ll make a ruling.”
Cashman said he read the police report of the alleged incident between Chapman and his girlfriend last October. The pitcher will not face criminal charges, which does not impact whether MLB can suspend him.
Did Cashman worry about the message trading for Chapman sent? “We talked through all of it,” Cashman said. “I would just state that he is going to be playing in the majors this year. He is going to be performing and working, not denied work, and we made the decision he’d be here.”
James Kaprielian, the Yankees’ first-round pick in last June’s draft, threw in the bullpen with the second group of pitchers on Friday, giving Girardi his first look at the young righthander.
“The focus early on in spring training is the command of that fastball and I thought he had good command,” Girardi said of Kaprielian, who turns 22 on March 2. “I thought he was not overwhelmed by his surroundings, he was comfortable. That’s always a concern of mine for kids their first year in camp. He was talkative and it was good to see.”
Pitchers went through bunting drills on Friday, something the Yankees plan to stress heavily throughout the spring. Former major-leaguer Reggie Willits, who joined the organization as an outfield/baserunning coordinator based in Tampa, will work with pitchers on bunting until he heads over to minor-league camp next month.
“I stressed the importance today of continuing to get better at that because, you look at Chien-Ming Wang, I think he didn’t get a bunt down one year and he beat it out at first and then ended up blowing out his foot,” Girardi said. “We really don’t want them on the bases if we can avoid it, in a sense, but we don’t want to give up outs.”
The Yankees added righthanders Mark Montgomery and Kyle Haynes to big-league camp Friday, bringing the total number of pitchers to 33. It may sound like a lot, but Girardi pointed out Friday that if this season is like last year, when the Yankees tied a club record by using 31 arms, it might barely be enough.
“I reiterated that in my meeting today,” said Girardi, who watched 20 pitchers throw bullpens Friday. “Don’t think that if you’re not on the roster that you don’t have a shot to be on this team.”
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