December 2012

Spring training schedule announced

The Yankees announced their 2013 spring training schedule that features 33 games, 17 of them at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.

The Yankees will play their first spring game at 1:05 p.m. Feb. 23 against the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Yanks’ first spring home game will be at 1:05 p.m. Feb. 24 against the Blue Jays.

Due to the World Baseball Classic tournament, the 2013 spring schedule will begin nine days earlier than last year. It marks the earliest start to the Yankees’ spring training game schedule in at least 65 years. In addition to 16 Grapefruit League games, the Yankees will also be home against the Dominican Republic’s WBC team Wednesday, March 6.

Home opponents include each of the Yankees’ four American League East rivals – the Blue Jays Feb. 24, the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. March 20, the Rays at 1:05 p.m. March 24 and the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. March 27. The schedule also contains four home night games with 7:05 starting times against the Braves March 5, the Phillies March 13, the Twins March 21 and the Astros March 26. Houston is moving to the AL next year after 51 seasons in the National League.

The Yankees will also be home against the Cardinals March 11, which will mark St. Louis’ first visit to Tampa since 2006. The Miami Marlins will make their first trip to Tampa since 2005 with a 1:05 p.m. game March 15.

Season tickets for 2013 Yankees spring home games are on sale at http://www.steinbrennerfield.com or http://www.yankees.com. Individual-game spring tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the Steinbrenner Field box office, online at http://www.yankees.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

For ticket information, fans may call (813) 879-2244 or visit http://www.yankees.com.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Feb. 12, with their first workout scheduled for Feb. 13. Position players are scheduled to report Feb. 17, with the club’s first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb.18.

This will be the Yankees’ 18th spring training at Steinbrenner Field. The complex was renamed for the Yankees’ longtime principal owner March 27, 2008, following two unanimous resolutions supporting the change issued by the Hillsborough County Commission and the Tampa City Council. The resolutions cited Steinbrenner’s many charitable donations to youth activities, hospitals and the arts, and recognized his numerous extraordinary contributions to the area.

Hall for Col. Ruppert; knife for A-Rod

NASHVILLE – There was good news and bad news for Yankees fans coming out of baseball’s Winter Meetings Monday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

First, the good news; another person associated with the Yankees was elected to the Hall of Fame. The Pre-Integration Era Veterans Committee elected former club owner Jacob Ruppert to the Hall, along with 19th-century catcher-third baseman Deacon White and umpire Hank O’Day.

Among Ruppert’s many contributions to the Yankees in his time as owner was the design of their pinstriped uniforms, the purchase of Babe Ruth’s contract from the Red Sox and the construction of the original Yankee Stadium, a palace among baseball parks in the 1920s. Ruppert’s nickname was “The Colonel,” even though his time as a colonel in the National Guard was short, certainly less than his four terms as a United States congressman from the Democratic Party.

“The election of Jacob Ruppert to the Hall of Fame is a great honor for the Yankees organization,” managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “Under his leadership, the Yankees became the most popular and successful team in baseball, setting the standard which we try to uphold today.”

Ruppert becomes the 48th individual enshrined in the Hall to have played, managed, coached, owned or been a general manager for the Yankees. He joins Ed Barrow, Larry MacPhail, Lee MacPhail and George Weiss among Hall of Famers who had ownership stakes or were general managers of the Yankees but never played for, coached or managed the club.

The bad news, however, is quite grim. Alex Rodriguez will require surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and will likely miss at least the first half of the 2013 season. The news, first reported by George King in the New York Post, is a severe blow to the Yankees but also serves to explain in part why the third baseman may have struggled so much during the past postseason when he hit .120 with 12 strikeouts in 25 at-bats.

“I do think that it’s a likely scenario that the struggles we saw in September and in October are more likely than not related to this issue,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said during a press conference here. “Clearly Alex was dealing with an issue that although he might be asymptomatic but the lower half and the way the mechanisms work, he wasn’t firing on all cylinders. There were times that we thought watching him that he was all arms and no legs, but again, there were no complaints, no pain, and then in the playoffs when he got pinch hit for, he did have a complaint that he felt his right hip wasn’t working right, and that was all clear.”

According to Cashman, Rodriguez told manager Joe Girardi in the dugout the night of Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Orioles when A-Rod was lifted for pinch hitter Raul Ibanez, who hit a game-tying home run, that his right hip did not feel right. Rodriguez had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam after the game at New York Presbyterian Hospital that did not reveal any damage.

Rodriguez had a checkup during the offseason in Vail, Colo., which showed a tear in the left hip that was confirmed in a second opinion by Dr. Bryan Kelly, who will perform the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery after A-Rod completes a four- to six-week pre-surgery regimen. The procedure is expected to require four to six months for recovery.

With the surgery likely to be scheduled in January, the earliest Rodriguez could be expected to play would be June and more realistically after the All-Star break in July.

So what do the Yankees do about third base for the first half of next season? Cashman all but ruled out the possibility of Eduardo Nunez playing there (“We see him as a shortstop,” the GM said) and pointed out that the club got through 2012 with several players in left field filling in for injured Brett Gardner.

Jayson Nix, who has re-upped with the Yanks for 2013, could be used in part of a platoon. Eric Chavez, who played in 64 games (50 starts) at the position last season, is now a free agent.

“My sole interest is just improving the entire club,” Cashman said. “Whether we solve any issue specifically at that position of third base, I can’t really answer.”

Jeter’s Holiday Express coming to Stadium

Derek Jeter and the Yankees will help more than 500 children from New York City’s five boroughs to celebrate the holidays.

The Turn 2 Holiday Express is one of the activities created by Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation to reward children involved in its signature programs who are demonstrating positive behavior, academic excellence, and leadership qualities in school and their communities. Turn 2’s mission is to motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and “Turn 2” healthy lifestyles.

Derek and Santa Claus himself will bring holiday cheer Wednesday at Yankee Stadium to the children who are part of the Foundation’s signature programs. The children will enjoy a fun-filled evening, capped off with a surprise visit from Derek, Santa, and his elves. Each child will receive a special holiday gift bag.

Last Wednesday, the New York Jeter’s Leaders assembled more than 1,000 gift bags at their annual holiday gift wrapping at the Stadium. These gift bags contain items donated by the Yankees and sponsors of the Turn 2 Foundation. The Jeter’s Leaders are high school students recognized for their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community service, who are responsible for delivering a positive message to their peers.

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